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Ackerman Center to Host Conference on Holocaust, Churches
Oct. 26, 2017
UT Dallas officials and Dr. Marcia Sachs Littell (front row, center), immediate past president of the Annual Scholars’ Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches, sign an agreement to make the University the new home of the conference. The conference will be on March 3-5 at the Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center.
The Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies at The University of Texas at Dallas will be the new home of one of the oldest interfaith, international and interdisciplinary academic conferences about the Holocaust.
The center will host the 48th Annual Scholars’ Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches on March 3-5 at the University’s Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center. The focus will be “Critical Moments in the History and Memory of the Holocaust.”
The conference brings together survivors, academics, theologians, professionals and others to discuss the latest findings in Holocaust research to ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust remain relevant.
Holocaust scholar Franklin H. Littell, who died in 2009, and the Rev. Hubert G. Locke founded the conference in 1970. Elie Wiesel gave the keynote address at the first conference and served as the event’s honorary chairman until his death last year. Littell, a Methodist minister and professor, is considered the “father” of Holocaust studies in America for his pioneering research examining Christian complicity in the Holocaust. Locke is a professor and dean emeritus of public affairs at the University of Washington.
“Littell and Locke recognized that in the late 1960s and early 1970s the Holocaust had not acquired great relevance for contemporary studies, the professions or for thinking about one's faith. They felt that this immensely important historical event was not being recognized for its lasting significance,” said Dr. Nils Roemer, the director of the Ackerman Center and Stan and Barbara Rabin Professor in Holocaust Studies. “They wanted to create a network that would allow the study of the Holocaust to have an annual gathering. They also recognized that it would require people from many faiths and backgrounds to come together.”
“The level of discourse and exchange of ideas associated with this event will greatly enhance our Holocaust studies program and its mission of teaching and researching the Holocaust. ”
Various locations have held the conference over the years. It now will be held each year at UT Dallas.
Dr. Marcia Sachs Littell, emeritus professor of Holocaust studies at Richard Stockton College in New Jersey and wife of Franklin Littell, served as immediate past president of the Scholars’ Conference.
“The University is an excellent permanent home because of its commitment to Holocaust education for students and the community, its longtime participation in the conference, its diverse population and the excellent academic qualifications of the center’s endowed professors,” she said.
“History is not the dead past. It encompasses the past, the present and the future. And because I care about the future, I have dedicated the rest of my days to stressing the need to support and nurture the succeeding generation,” she said. “That’s what they’re doing at UT Dallas. This generation on which we are focusing, that’s where the lessons of the Holocaust will be the most effective.”
Executive Vice President Hobson Wildenthal, who was instrumental in establishing the Ackerman Center, said pairing the conference with the center’s mission will elevate the pursuits of both, to the betterment of scholars, students and the community.
“The annual Scholars’ Conference is vitally important to the preservation of the history and legacy of the Holocaust,” said Wildenthal, Cecil H. Green Distinguished Chair of Academic Leadership. “The level of discourse and exchange of ideas associated with this event will greatly enhance our Holocaust studies program and its mission of teaching and researching the Holocaust.”
The Ackerman Center, which serves UT Dallas students and the larger community, was created through a gift from the Edward and Wilhelmina Ackerman Foundation. The center offers undergraduate and graduate courses, a graduate certificate in Holocaust studies, and graduate fellowships and research grants.
The center hosts the annual Burton C. Einspruch Holocaust Lecture Series and is home to the Arnold A. Jaffe Holocaust Library Collection, a book, video and electronic materials resource for Holocaust scholars and the broader public.
Media Contact: Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].