On June 20, 2022, NEVER AGAIN IS NOW podcast co-host Evelyn Markus and I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Felix Klein, the Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight Against Antisemitism, the first person to serve in this capacity for the federal government of Germany.
In addition, Dr. KLein has midwifed 15 of the 16 states in Germany to have their own antisemitism commissioner, and he continues to encourage the 16th state to do so.
While Germany’s efforts to combat antisemitism may not be top-of-mind for many Times of Israel readers, Dr. Klein’s insights can be valuable for combatting antisemitism in other places. Click on the above podcast to hear the interview with Dr. Felix Klein.
On June 11-14, 2022, I attended the 35th annual conference of the Association of Holocaust Organizations — this year in Charlotte, N.C. The focus of the sessions was on Holocaust education, and Dr. Michael Berenbaum, director of the Sigi Ziering Institute, gave a fascinating presentation on “America and the Holocaust: Reflections on Three Quarters of a Century and the Development of Holocaust Consciousness in American Society.”
Evelyn and I interviewed Dr. Berenbaum on June 7, 2022, for our podcast, and we discussed antisemitism on this episode.
Previously Evelyn and I had interviewed Yad Vashem Holocaust film lecturer Rich Brownstein, who presented “Holocaust Cinema Complete: A history and analysis of 400 films, with a teaching guide” at the conference.
In Charlotte I also had the privilege of meeting Jody Kipnis, the co-founder of Holocaust Legacy Foundation, that provides a teen fellowship opportunity:
Holocaust Legacy Fellows is not just about remembering the Holocaust but learning from it and becoming self aware. Learning through discovery can promote a positive impact. The Holocaust Legacy Fellows give us great hope that not only do they understand the horrors of the past, but the experiential education through travel means they will be the ones who will step up in the future and challenge prejudice and hatred which paved the way to those railway lines at Auschwitz.
Perhaps the most compelling part of the conference was the optional bus excursion to the Anne Frank Center in Columbia, S.C. at the University of South Carolina. (Raise your hand if you knew about this center!)
The excursion was especially meaningful because it included a visit to the Museum of Reconstruction Era with Dr. Thomas Brown, while the Anne Frank Center tour was with Dr. Doyle Stevick. I found it very compelling to pair these two museum visits together.
Following the two museum visits, we saw a powerful two-actor performance of the play LETTERS FROM ANNE AND MARTIN juxtaposing Anne Frank’s diary entries with Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter from the Birmingham jail (written on April 16, 1963).
Looking to future events — the London Centre for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism is hosting a conference on 21st century antisemitism in London from September 11-13, 2022. Confirmed speakers include: Alan Johnson, Alvin Rosenfeld, Annette Seidel-Arpacı, Anthony Julius, Balázs Berkovits, Daniel Chernilo, Eric Heinze, David Hirsh, David Seymour, Dina Porat, Howard Jacobson, John Mann, Karin Stögner, Matthias Küntzel, Philip Spencer, Stephan Grigat.
And as Evelyn and I conclude each of our NEVER AGAIN IS NOW podcasts, I encourage everyone — without putting oneself in physical harm — to speak up against antisemitism and all hate.