A 21st Century Resource Center

The Mercer County Holocaust-Genocide Resource Center is located on the West Windsor, NJ, campus of Mercer County Community College. We are dedicated to providing the most current resources on Holocaust and genocide education for the 21st Century classroom. Learn more about us at

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

MCCC Basketball Team goes to USHMM!

On Monday, December 10, MCHGRC Co-Director, Professor Elizabeth DeGiorgio had a great time meeting with 10 members of the Mercer County Community College Men's Basketball team and preparing them for their upcoming visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

We look forward to hearing about their trip and finding out what they learned upon their return.

Go Vikings!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The 74th Anniversary of Kristallnacht

On Wednesday, November 14, over 100 New Jerseyans gathered to mark the 74th anniversary of Kristallnacht at the New Jersey State House in Trenton.

Four members of the Jewish War Veterans of America-Post 126 opened the ceremony with the Posting of Colors.

Holocaust survivors stood alongside New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education members (many of whom are children of survivors) and distinguished guests as memorial candles were lit in honor of the 6 million Jews who perished under Nazi rule.

Edwin Ganz, Kristallnacht survivor, looks on as Mercer County Holocaust-Genocide Resource Center Advisory Commission Members, Dr. Vera Goodkin and Cantor David Wisnia, share a smile of comfort and friendship.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Rescheduling Sarah's Key Workshop!

We have elected to reschedule this week's workshop "Using Sarah's Key in the Classroom" to Tuesday, December 4, at 4:30 pm.

To sign up for the workshop, email

For more details, click here.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

BESA Now through 11/20

On Wednesday, October 17, the MCHGRC joined with the MCCC Muslim Student Association (MSA) in welcoming an audience of MCCC students, faculty, staff and county residents to the opening of BESA.  Photographer Norman Gershman was on hand to share his experience photographing the amazing upstanders of Albania. 
The exhibit will be open through November 20, 2012.  For more information, contact the MCHGRC at or by calling 609.570.3355.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Learning to be an Upstander

On Thursday, October 11, MCHGRC welcomed a group of MCCC students to the inaugural session of Upstander Training using the curriculum OUCH! Your Silence Hurts.

"Many people say they want to speak up when they see others stereotyped, disrespected, or demeaned, but they stand by silently because of discomfort or the fear of saying the wrong thing. They turn away thinking, “who am I to get involved, this isn't my business.” But as a bystander, you ARE part of the conversation. You are the audience. Your silence allows the disrespectful behavior to continue. Your silence hurts."

Attendees began by identifying their motivation for being an upstander and then analyzed the reasons why people often choose to remain a bystander in the face of the negative behavior that is a result of prejudice, bias, and sterotyping.  The number one reason: Most people believe they lack the authority to stand up to negative behavior.  In fact, they often fear the bully and repercussions of standing up to the arbiter of negativity.

The discussion revealed that being an upstander is a choice.  The authority to make that choice rests with each individual - and when an individual chooses not to be an upstander, they effectively give authority to the bully committing the offense. 

One technique for diffusing volatile situations was that of re-direction: Re-directing the focus of the discussion off of the argument.  Another technique was to respond to negativity with positivity, thereby raising the level of the conversation in general.

Future sessions will continue to discuss effective ways to be an upstander in real life situations.  For more information, contact Center Co-Director, Professor Elizabeth DeGiorgio, at .

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Unmentioned Genocide

Remember George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh?  Even if you weren't around to watch the former Beatle sing in Madison Square Garden, you've at least heard a song or two from the album.

But I bet you never guessed that'd be your only connection to a genocide.

On Wednesday, October 3, survivor and Freedom Fighter Dr. Nuran Nabi told the untold story of the Bangladesh Genocide to a packed audience of educators and students at the MCHGRC.  Giving the historical background that led to the genocide, Dr. Nabi detailed the freedom fighter movement as well as the lack of international government response to the crisis.

The crisis involved the murder of 3 million Bengalis over the course of 267 days by Pakistani forces acting on military orders.  In addition, 200,000 women were raped and 10 million Bengalis were forced to become refugees in India.  Why?  Bengalis sought political freedom in the form of an independent state - an idea with which Pakistani leaders did not agree.  In fact, the crimes committed were enacted in the name of Islam - despite the fact that the majority of Bengalis are Muslims.

Beyond the Beatles, the American Congress, intellectuals, media personalities and general public condemned the genocide, raised funds for refugees and freedom fighters, and even executed a Naval blockade against arms shipments to Pakistan in the Baltimore Harbor.  Popular response was powerful in the face of political inaction.

The Pakistani report on the Bangladesh Genocide contains a series of reports from Pakistani Generals who admit that crimes took place - but they refuse to take responsibility for their actions.  While Pakistani media and lawyers have gone to great lengths to apologize for the Bengali genocide, the official position of Pakistan remains one distant to the actual horrific facts.

For Dr. Nuran Nabi's complete Power Point presentation on the Bangladesh Genocide, email .

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

MCHGRC in the News!

Holocaust survivor and MCHGRC Advisory Commission member Vera Goodkin was recently featured on the front page of the Trenton Times in honor of the 100th Anniversary of Raoul Wallenberg's birth. Read the entire article here.  One photograph on the front page of the paper features Dr. Goodkin speaking to MCCC students at the MCHGRC.

Advisory Commission member Steve Besserman and his father, Holocaust survivor Joseph Besserman, were recently featured in the Trenton Times in anticipation of the premiere of Only A Number on channel 13.

A big thank you goes out to our survivors and their families for ensuring that a new generation of students learns that we must never forget or back down in the face of hatred, Holocaust, or genocide.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cantor David Wisnia Commemorates the 67th Liberation of Auschwitz

Check out the video of MCHGRC Advisory Commission Member, Holocaust survivor Cantor David Wisnia singing the memorial prayer commemorating the 67th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27, 2012.  Wisnia escaped one of the infamous death marches out of Auschwitz, only to become a member of the 101st Airborne during the last months of the war.

The New Jersey Jewish News interviewed Cantor Wisnia and his son, Michael, who accompianied him to the event in Poland earlier this year.  To learn more about our amazing Cantor, read the article here.

For more information on the liberation of Auschwitz, visit the USHMM online.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Upcoming Events @ MCHGRC!

Check out the following pages for more details on our upcoming events:

Wednesday, October 3 @ 4:30 - Learn about the Bangladeshi Genocide from survivor and Mercer County resident, Dr. Nuran Nabi.  The Bangladesh liberation war was bloody. Three million people were killed, thousands of women were raped, and ten million people were forced to become refugees. And yet, the war criminals responsible for these atrocities have never been brought to justice.

Thursday, October 11 @ 4:30 - Participate in OUCH: Your Silence Hurts! and learn how to go from being a bystander to being an upstander in the face of everyday bias, prejudice and hatred.  This is a great session for students and teachers.

Wednesday, October 17 @ 4:30 - Join us for the grand opening of BESA: Muslim Albanian Rescuers of the Holocaust.  This international exhibit features the photographs and biographies of the brave men and women who valued honor in the face of adversity, hiding their Jewish neighbors from Nazi invaders during World War II.  We are proud to partner with the Muslim Student Association of Mercer County Community College for this event.

Tuesday, November 13 @ 4:30 - Commemorate Kristallnacht with A Day to Remember: Survivors and Recipes.  Mercer County Community College Culinary Arts Professor Frank Benowitz will cook up traditional Ashkenazi dishes as we review recipes and survivor stories from The Holocaust Survivor Cookbook
As always, all events are free and open to the public.  For more information, contact the Mercer County Holocaust-Genocide Resource Center at  We look forward to seeing you at the MCHGRC!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Local Holocaust Survivor's Story to Debut on PBS THIRTEEN!

Over 200 were in attendance at our Yom HaShoah screening of this documentary last year.  Now, we're proud to share in the announcement that Only A Number will debut on public television this month!

THIRTEEN/WNET Presents Broadcast Premiere of Only A Number Award-winning documentary to air for the first time on public television

TRENTON, N.J.--AriJoe Productions, LLC announced today that the award-winning documentary, Only A Number, will have its broadcast premiere on public television station THIRTEEN/WNET on Sunday, September 23 from 7-8PM (ET).

Only A Number is a one-hour documentary about the experiences of Aranka, a Holocaust survivor with dementia.

Many years before the disease began to eat away at her memory, she documented the horrors she endured at the hands of the Nazis and how she met her husband Josef in a concentration camp. Their story is told through a journey of rediscovery by their son, Steven, transporting the viewer to the ghettos, concentration camps and slave-labor factories as they are today and unearthing the horrendous occurrences long-since buried there. It is a true story of the struggle to survive, to love and to remember.

"We are very proud that THIRTEEN/WNET will be airing the premiere broadcast of Only A Number. It's especially meaningful at this time of year," said Executive Producer/Director Steven Besserman, referring to the Jewish high holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. He added that, "as students begin another school year, Only A Number tells an important story that demonstrates what hatred and intolerance can do to people when taken to the extreme. It has relevance to what we're still seeing in the world today, and to the bullying that occurs in schools and communities in our country."

When asked about Only A Number, Ana Ramos, Programmer at THIRTEEN said, "This film is quite evocative and haunting, with a strong narrative that unfolds against the backdrop of present-day locales of Steven's parents' extraordinary journey. The result is not a film about death, but about survival and about hope."

Only A Number premiered on the film festival circuit at the Garden State Film Festival 2011, where it was awarded Best Music Composition. The film went on to receive the special Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature at the Jersey Shore Film Festival 2011, and had screenings at the Santa Rosa International Film Festival's Cinema of Conscience. Only A Number was nominated Best Documentary by the Orlando Film Festival 2011 and received the special Jury Award for Best Documentary at the New Hope Film Festival in 2012. A special edition DVD of the documentary and an accompanying Study Guide have been distributed to educators in New Jersey and recommended by Dr. Paul Winkler and the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education for use in the curriculum with students in grades 7-12.

For more information about Only A Number, visit

About AriJoe Productions, LLC: AriJoe Productions was formed in 2010 for the purpose of realizing Steven Besserman's life-long ambition of bringing his parents' Holocaust survival and love story to the screen. The resulting documentary, Only A Number, is based on his mother Aranka's memoir. The company takes its name from Aranka's nickname "Ari" and her husband's nickname "Joe."

Saturday, September 1, 2012

9/6 @ 12 noon - Travel to Poland @ the MCHGRC!

Mercer County Community College will be hosting a study abroad opportunity in Spring 2013. 
Our 10-day trip begins in Warsaw where we will learn what life was like in Nazi-occupied Poland, particularly for the Jews who were exiled to the over-crowded ghetto. To understand their plight, we will walk along the Path of Jewish Remembrance to the Monument to the Heroes of the Ghetto and visit the Museum of the Jewish Historical institute and the Pawiak Prison – the infamous detention center where Jews and Poles were held during the Nazi occupation. We will directly confront the Holocaust by touring two of the most infamous labor and death camps: Treblinka and Auschwitz-Birkenau. We will learn not only how the Nazis murdered on an industrial scale but also how societies choose to memorialize and remember genocide. In Krakow, we will walk through the Jewish Quarter and tour Oscar Schindler’s factory. In addition to our study of the Holocaust, participants will learn about Jewish and Polish culture – both past and present. We will visit a number of important cultural sites including the Nozyk Synagogue and the Museum of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw as well as the Isaac Synagogue and Jewish Quarter in Krakow. In the evenings, our group will partake in traditional eastern-European music and cuisine.
To learn more about this exciting opportunity, visit the Mercer County Holocaust-Genocide Resource Center on Thursday, September 6 at 12 noon.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Jasha Levi: Holocaust Survivor & Author

MCHGRC Advisory Commission Member Jasha Levi was recently interviewed on Morgen Bailey's Writing Blog.  Learn more about Jasha's amazing life via this recent interview in the New Jersey Jewish News and check out his books The Last Exile, Blood Without Honey, and his latest, Requiem for a Country via his personal website:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Critical Thinking Using Primary Sources Workshop Resources

Below find a series of links to documents relating to today's workshop.  They'll be available here at for your reference after today as well.  Please feel free to send questions and your feedback on today's workshop to

Resources & Links from Christopher Zarr of the National Archives:

Online Resources of the National Archives

Listing of Primary Sources on the Holocaust at the National Archives

National Archives - Suggested Methods for Integrating Primary Sources Into Classroom Instruction

Primary Sources - Examples from the National Archives

National Archives Document Analysis Sheets

Docs Teach - The online interactive resource that allows you to access and create classroom projects that integrate primary sources and  21st century technologies.

Resources & Links from William Fernekes:
Using Primary Sources to Study the Holocaust - Presentation Outline

Primary Sources in History: Breaking Through the Myths

Suggested Methods for Integrating Primary Sources Into Classroom Instruction

Resources & Links from Paul Winkler, Executive Director of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education:

Salvaged Pages - the work of Alexandra Zapruder with tips on integrating primary sources into the classroom

The NJ Commission on Holocaust Education's website includes links to curriculum guides on teaching on the Holocaust as well as various genocides around the world, additional resources, and the mandate legislation regarding Holocaust education in grades K-12.

Don't forget to check out Facing History and Ourselves - an awesome resource for educators - and look into attending their upcoming workshop on The Holocaust and Human Behavior in Cherry Hill, NJ!

Want to involve your students in the fight against bullying?  Take your class for a trip to the KidsBridge Tolerance Museum at TCNJ, and join us for the Inaugural Kidsbridge Walk2Stop Bullying on Sunday, June 3! 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Have you ever wondered how to connect Core Content Standards in English Language Arts and Social Studies with 21st Century Life & Career Standards like Critical Thinking & Problem Solving and Communication Media & Fluency while meeting the NJ State Mandate on Holocaust/Genocide Education?
Look no further!  This is the workshop for you!
Christopher Zarr, Education Specialist at the National Archives in New York City as our keynote speaker!  Not sure what the National Archives in NYC has to do with NJ Teaching?  Not only have they partnered with the NJDOE to link thousands of their documents to the 2009 NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards for Social Studies, they have also just released the awesome 21st Century Technology Tool DocsTeach that allows you to bring primary sources into the classroom through the latest in Web 2.0 technology! 
Ryan Lilienthal, Lawyer & Researcher with a Holocaust Family background
William Fernekes, Retired NJ Social Studies Supervisor and Human Rights Watch Student Task Force Program Advisor
We will empower you with the tools you need to guide your students into effective research while honing NJ State mandated core curriculum content skills and learning more about the Holocaust and genocide and their relevance to the 21st Century.

How's that for some all-encompassing PD?
Join us at:

1200 Old Trenton Road, West Windsor, NJ 08550
Tuesday, May 15
8:30 am - 2:30 pm
While registration is free, sign-up is required.  
To sign up, go to:  
Questions?  Contact us at

Monday, April 16, 2012

Commemorate Yom HaShoah this Wednesday, 4/18

"If not for the Holocaust, my parents would never have met and I would never have been born, so I have always felt a profound sense of irony about the Holocaust." 
Steve Besserman

The Mercer CountyHolocaust-Genocide Resource Center and Congregation Beth Chaim of Princeton Junction, NJ, are commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day with a screening of Only A Number a documentary of Holocaust survival by Hamilton, NJ filmmaker Steve Besserman.

Only A Number is the autobiography of Besserman’s mother, Aranka, a survivor of the Auschwitz death camp.  A powerful narrative, Only A Number is as much a love story as it is a Holocaust memoir.  It was in a slave labor camp that Aranka fell in love with Josef, the man who would eventually become her husband.  Using his mother’s diary as his guide, Besserman journeys through the sites of the ghettos, concentration camps, and slave-labor factories, reflecting on his mother’s experiences and how they have impacted him as a second-generation survivor. 

In 2011 alone, Only A Number was recognized as an Official Selection of the Garden State Film Festival, the Best FeatureDocumentary at the Jersey Shore Film Festival, an Official Selection of the Santa Rosa Film Festival, and nominated for Best Documentary at the Orlando Film Festival.  A special edition of Only A Number accompanied by a Study Guide has been recommended by the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education to middle and high schools for use in the curriculum with students in grades 7-12.

Filmmaker Steve Besserman will take questions from the audience and discuss his experiences making the film after the screening.  DVDs will be made available for purchase after the program.

The event is free and open to the public.  It will be held Wednesday, April 18, at 7 pm at Congregation Beth Chaim, 329 Village Road East, Princeton Junction, NJ, 08550.  For directions, please visit Beth Chaim’s website at:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Stay Tuned...

Exciting things have been happening at the MCHGRC.

On March 28 we hosted over 15 educators from Mercer County and northern New Jersey at our Echoes and Reflections Workshop.  Hosted by Jerry Clark, this seminar on the 21st Century Holocaust curriculum developed by the ADL, in conjunction with Yad Vashem and the Shoah Foundation, reinvigorated our attendees with fresh material and insightful perspectives.  If you are an educator seeking a strong multimedia resource to bring Holocaust-related education into your classroom, you need Echoes & Reflections.  Check it out online today!

Just this week we hosted educators from across the state at our War Horse workshop.  This multifaceted interactive experience included a series of presentation by MCCC education majors who tackled the book for audiences grades K-4 as well as insights from our own Co-Director/MCCC Education Professor Elizabeth DeGiorgio and Advisory Commission member/High School Guidance Counselor & Peer Leader Lisa O'Neill.  Stay tuned to the blog for resources, including lesson plans, discussed at the workshop!

Upcoming Events  

Mercer County honors Yom HaShoah with a free screening of this amazing Holocaust biopic made by local documentary filmmaker and second-generation survivor, Steve Besserman.  Come for the film, stay for the Q&A with the filmmaker!  Held at Congregation Beth Chaim, 329 Village Road East, Princeton Junction, NJ.  No reservations required!

"The Joy of Teaching Critical Thinking through Primary Sources." This K-12 workshop for educators at all levels and subjects is designed to demonstrate how to combine teaching critical thinking and the content of the Holocaust  and genocide through primary sources.  Presentation by Christopher Zarr – Education Specialist, National Archives at New York City.  Free workshop!  Meals provided!
Register today at

Sunday, June 3 - Join the Kidsbridge Tolerance Museum 
KIDSBRIDGE is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing imaginative, hands-on exhibits in the Kidsbridge Tolerance Museum, generously housed on the campus of The College of New Jersey in Ewing. These programs focus on: anti-bullying and anti-cyberbullying; tolerance; diversity appreciation and respect for all persons; victim empowerment and positive self-esteem; conflict resolution and empathy; sensitivity to persons with disabilities; understanding of LGBT persons and grassroots youth activism.  Join Kidsbridge on the campus of TCNJ as we walk to send a message: Stop Bullying Today!  Register online now!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Story in History is What Counts

War Horse author Michael Morpugo has an awesome article in the UK Daily Mail titled: When I wrote War Horse, I didn't hide the horror of battle. If children are to love history, we must tell them the brutal truth.  

Morpugo argues against the education system removing the "story" from History, instead "...judg[ing] success solely on whether children can pass exams, with little time to ensure they leave school with a passion for learning that will remain with them for life."

Technological and political advancements mean that today's generation of students are, by and large, less directly impacted by war than their predecessors.  To put it in plain terms: If the Cold War seemed unreal to Generation X, what must World War II seem like to today's high school students?

When the realities of war become nothing more than facts on a page to be memorized, tested on, and all too quickly forgotten...what is the point of teaching about the war in the first place?

And if human experience can be so easily boiled down into a trivial pursuit, what lesson does that teach our students about the weight of their own lives and actions on the world scale?

History matters because people matter.  When we forget the importance of history we forget one of history's greatest lessons: That lives are meant to be lived, not lost and valued as gifts to the world, not by the blood they shed on battlefields or in death camps.

Read Morpugo's article in the UK Daily Mail.

Then, join the MCHGRC as we discuss War Horse: How One Book, One Play, One Movie can teach peace.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Don't Be a Bystander" - Eugenie Mukeshimana, Rwandan Genocide Survivor

Over 20 guests filled our Center last Wednesday as the MCHGRC welcomed Eugenie Mukeshimana, founder of Genocide Survivors Support Network, to speak about surviving the Rwandan genocide.

Before the genocide, Rwanda was a beautiful country and Eugenie's was what Americans would most likely term an "average, middle class" lifestyle.  The dark underbelly of racism, however, took hold during her young adult years.  Despite generations of intermarriage with the Hutu population, Tutsis became defined in aesthetic terms similar to those used to stereotype Jews in Germany in the years leading up to the Holocaust: large noses and horns.  In fact, the similarities between Eugenie's experiences and those of Holocaust survivors is a lesson in itself:  Prejudicial language and attitudes had come and gone in waves in the past; Tutsi parents instructed their children to keep their heads down until attitudes changed.  However, this time, the stereotyping became so commonplace in Rwanda that when it came time for the killing to begin, the majority of Hutus that had been friends and neighbors for years did nothing to stop the madness.  In fact, many participated in the killings, while still more turned their backs to the horror.

While Eugenie highlighted the failures of the United Nations in responding to the Rwandan crisis that Dallaire wrote about in Shake Hands with the Devil, her feelings of abandonment were not solely the cause of other nations.  For Eugenie, one of the greatest disappointments that remain is that the church did nothing to forewarn the Tutsis of the impending crisis.  Mission organizations were pulling their representatives out of the country while many church leaders said nothing about the growing threats.  "We had passports," Eugenie said, "if we had felt there was any real threat, my family and I would have left.  But they said nothing."

What is the one lesson Eugenie wants everyone to take away from her autobiography?  "Do not be a bystander."  We must realize that we are all links in a chain and what is done to one person will inevitably affect us all.

To learn more about Eugenie and how you can support genocide survivors living in America, visit  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Genocide is a Living Reality

To learn more about the Shaar Menashe Mental Health Center for Holocaust survivors in Pardes Hanna, Israel, check out the article on

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Next Wednesday, Shake Hands with the Devil

Wednesday, February 29 @ 4:30 pm, Leap into the pool of knowledge about the Rwandan Genocide as Eugenie Mukeshimana of the Genocide Survivors Support Network discusses Romeo Dallaire's book Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda.

To brush up on the latest in Rwandan genocide current events, check out MCHGRC's page.

For more information on this event, including the link to register, check out the event page.

Be there, or be square.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Star Trek's George Takei on being a Non-Alien

This is an amazing first-hand account of the psychology behind the Japanese-American internment camps of World War Two.  Takei's experiences illustrate the stereotypical thinking that motivated the creation of the camps, an act that was later defined by a postwar Congressional committee as being "...motivated largely by racial prejudice, wartime hysteria, and a failure of political leadership."

For more on the internment camps, including the original text of Executive Order 9066 that overrode "the Constitutional safeguards of American citizens in the name of national defense" check out PBS: Children of the Camps.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Oh Silly Them...

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Marine Corps on Thursday once again did damage control after a photograph surfaced of a sniper team in Afghanistan posing in front of a flag with a logo resembling that of the notorious Nazi SS — a special unit that murdered millions of Jews, gypsies and others. 
The Corps said in a statement that using the symbol was not acceptable. 
However, it was a naive mistake made by Marines who believed the SS symbol was meant to represent sniper scouts and never intended to associate themselves with a racist organization, said Maj. Gabrielle Chapin, a spokeswoman at Camp Pendleton.

"Naive" and "Marines" don't normally go together in the same sentence.

The real question is, if the Marines don't recognize the infamous "SS" logo, what should we expect of today's students?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thank you, Mercer County!

Our Open House last night was a fantastic success.  We welcomed MCCC President Dr. Patricia Donohue, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Guy Generals, and Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Diane Campbell, along with various MCCC faculty, staff and students, as well as many Mercer County residents.  Everyone who came did so with a vested interest in the Center's mission of empowering the next generation to fight against Holocaust and genocide through education.

Visitors peruse the Center's Holocaust Timeline and Propaganda Displays
Dr. Paul Winkler (left) and Co-Director Goldberg (right) talk with filmmaker Steve Besserman

One visitor contemplates Dr. Erlich's photographs from Darfur

Co-Directors Elizabeth DeGiorgio and Susan Goldberg chat with MCCC President Dr. Patricia Donohue (center)
We look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events -  Stay tuned for more details!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Open House - This Wednesday!

The Mercer County Holocaust-Genocide Resource Center will be hosting an Open House this Wednesday, February 1, 2012 from 4 - 7:30 pm.

Come check out our resources, meet our Advisory Commission members, and find out how we can serve your needs as a teacher, student, professor, or community member.

Did I mention there'd be food?

We're located on the West Windsor campus of Mercer County Community College, Library Building (LB), 2nd Floor.  If you're driving, you'll want to park across from the Security Office, near the Student Center (SC).

For a campus map, click here.

Questions?  Email

We look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Will more than 1 in 5 Remember?

Tomorrow is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Today, it was reported that one in five Germans between the ages of 18 and 29 have no idea that Auschwitz was a Nazi death camp.  Not coincidentally, the same 1 in 5 figure (age aside) accounts for the number of Germans who are latently anti-Semitic.

Statistics like this remind me why we need to do more than take a few hours out of our schedule on one or two days out of the year to remember that the Holocaust was real, that its victims still walk among us, and that the horror of genocide is still a living reality on this earth.

Holocaust and genocide education is not a matter of becoming depressed by the reality of history and current events.  Rather, it is a matter of knowing and understanding that real life is composed of a series of challenges and a matter of choices.  Holocaust and genocide studies involve an education that empowers each individual to make good choices in the face of horrific challenges.  Knowing history means knowing the difference in order to help make tomorrow a better place, whereas not knowing history ...well, the statistics prove my point.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Make Your Own History

December 31, 1941, posted at

Postmodernism is the school of thought that has the most wide-ranging impact on today's students and young adults.  Postmodernism recognizes reality as a subjective construct dependent upon the perceptions of the individual.  Now - boiling that down to plain English, Postmodernnism believes that a person's worldview is subjective, therefore no universal truths or principals exist that apply to everyone equally. 

So...what does that mean in practice?

Take the theory of Postmodernism and apply it to, say, the media for example, and suddenly it becomes completely acceptable to reinterpret the Holocaust to suit your own personal needs, regardless of the universal tragedy of the event.  If your need is to rapidly attract a large audience, postmodernism justifies the reinterpretation of the Holocaust as a joke because laughs garner web traffic.

The folks at 5SecondFilms are not alone in the postmodern universe.  On YouTube, there is a channel titled "Hitler Rants Parodies" consisting of clips from the German film Downfall that are re-subtitled to make it appear as if Hitler is ranting about everything from his girlfriend Eva Braun to modern video games like Call of Duty.  The page is so popular that the creator, who originally intended to only post 10 parodies, has posted over 500 since 2009. 

With over 28 million views, Hitler Rants Parodies has spawned a Facebook fan group and garnered featured space at the mainstream comedy site  Hitler Rants Parodies even has a Wikispace with a complete timeline of the "Hitler Rants Parodies Universe" in which the Nazi Dictator disappears from Germany in 1924 only to wake up at the age of 35 in 1984 and go on to establish the Third Reich in Germany in 1992.

Hitler Rants Parodies is far from the only source for modern-day mockery of the Nazi leader.  The hit Fox TV series Family Guy opened its premiere show with a rip on the dead dictator:

So, you might be thinking, what's the problem?  Charlie Chaplin made fun of Hitler.  So did Mel Brooks. 

Chaplin's Great Dictator (released in 1940) ended with Chaplin, as the Dictator, breaking the fourth wall to deliver a monologue criticizing Hitler's evil ideology and warning his audience of the destruction that walks in Hitler's wake with a plea for humanity to fight against the evil of hate and intolerance.  Chaplin, who fought politics on both sides of the Atlantic to get his film on the screen, had the goal of waging war against Hitler through the medium he knew best - cinema. 

Brooks did not mock the Dictator himself, but rather he mocked the ideology of anti-Semitism and Nazism in The Producers much the same way he mocked the anti-Semitism of Renaissance Spain's Catholic Church in History of the World Part I with his infamous song The Inquisition.  In fact, Brooks' hatred of anti-Semitism is what fuels his self-proclaimed "lifelong job - to make the world laugh at Adolf Hitler." 

So, what is the goal behind December 31, 1941 or Hitler Rants Parodies?  To mock Hitler?  To what ends?  And what is the goal in mocking the hope and horror of Anne Frank?  If we are to accept Postmodernism's theory that human nature is subjective and therefore out of the bounds of critique, we shouldn't bother to even ask such questions.  Instead, we should just sit back and laugh.

After all, Hitler was the 20th century's biggest joke, and Auschwitz was just a place to lose weight and work out, right?