School of Arts and Humanities News

Podcast Episodes Focus on Professors’ WWII Experiences


Bird’s-eye view of landing craft, barrage balloons and allied troops landing in Normandy, France on D-Day. U.S. Maritime Commission photograph retrieved from the Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/94505434/.

Bird’s-eye view of landing craft, barrage balloons and allied troops landing in Normandy, France on D-Day. U.S. Maritime Commission photograph retrieved from the Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/94505434/.

The Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies has released a series of podcast episodes in which three long-time University of Texas at Dallas professors reflect on their memories of World War II.

The series, called “Portraits of World War II,” features Dr. Rainer Schulte, professor of arts and humanities and the Katherine R. Cecil Professor in Foreign Languages; Dr. Frederick Turner, professor of literature and creative writing and Founders Professor; and Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth, professor of literature and history, and the Leah and Paul Lewis Chair of Holocaust Studies.

In his recording, Schulte, founder and director of the Center for Translation Studies in the School of Arts and Humanities, talks about how, when he was a child, the people of his community would try to avoid the bombs that were dropped nearby his hometown and about the many times he and his family spent time in bunkers for protection.

“Planes from the Airport Hahn, which was 30 kilometers away, would continuously fly over our house. We had to continuously avoid the bombs. The phosphorous bombs were the most dangerous, and you had to run. If they hit you, you were gone,” Schulte explains in the episode.

In the second part of the series, Turner recalls V-1 flying bombs in London that missed him and his mother by a few blocks. He also discusses memories of rationing and of seeing propaganda posters.

“My sense of being alive was not like a kid in America now, where much of your experience has to do with friends, school and shopping. It was like living inside a barracks,” he says.

Ozsváth, who is the founding director of the Ackerman Center, explains on the podcast that she was a young child when her family moved from their small town in Hungary to Budapest.

“Had we not moved to Budapest, we would have been killed as all my friends were killed. Not one person under 18 in that town was spared. They were all taken to Auschwitz,” Ozsváth says. She and her family survived the Holocaust in hiding.

In addition to discussing their childhoods, Schulte, Turner and Ozsváth reveal how they all ended up in the Dallas area, where each has made invaluable contributions to their respective academic fields and to the lives of thousands of students at UT Dallas.

The World War II discussions are part of the Ackerman Center podcast, which regularly explores Holocaust-related topics.

The episodes are hosted by Sarah Valente BA’11, MA’13, PhD’19 visiting assistant professor of Holocaust studies, and Dr. Nils Roemer, interim dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, director of the Ackerman Center, and the Stan and Barbara Rabin Professor of Holocaust Studies.

This news originally appeared in UT Dallas Magazine. To read the full article and listen to the podcasts, please click here.