Update on Recent Developments

Wyman Institute Update: June 13, 2004

    1. Sixty years after Ben Hecht used his powerful pen to alert Americans about the Holocaust, a ceremony will be held in Chicago to designate part of West Walton Street “Ben Hecht Way,” in recognition of Hecht’s efforts to promote the rescue of Jewish refugees from Hitler.

      At the initiative of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies and Alderman Burton F. Natarus (42nd Ward), the Chicago City Council recently designated as “Ben Hecht Way” that portion of West Walton Street which is in front of the Newberry Library, where Hecht’s papers are housed. The official naming ceremony will take place on West Walton Street, between North Clark and North Dearborn, on Tuesday, June 29, 2004, at 10:00 a.m. The public is invited to attend.

      Speakers will include Alderman Natarus; Wyman Institute director Dr. Rafael Medoff; Newberry Library president Dr. Charles T. Cullen; Frank Sullivan, formerly spokesman for the Mayor of Chicago; and Audrey Cantor, niece of boxing legend Barney Ross, another Chicagoan who was active alongside Hecht in promoting Holocaust rescue; and Dr. David Guttman, one of the last surviving members of the S.S. Ben Hecht refugee ship of 1947.


    1. The Wyman Institute’s inaugural public conference, “Teaching and Learning About America’s Response to the Holocaust” was huge success. For a detailed account, please visit www.WymanInstitute.org


    1. Filmmaker Pierre Sauvage, a member of the Wyman Institute’s Arts & Letters Council, lectured recently at Temple Sinai in Denver, regarding his documentary “Weapons of the Spirit.” The film tells the story of the French village of Le Chambon, which sheltered Jews from the Nazis. His lecture was the subject of a feature story and editorial in the Intermountain Jewish News.


    1. The February-March 2004 issue of Midstream included essays by Wyman Institute Academic Council members Prof. Robert Wistrich (Hebrew University) on the rising tide of antisemitism around the world, and Dr. Harold Brackman (Simon Wiesenthal Center) on the history of the deicide charge.


    1. In the May 2004 issue of Modern Judaism, Wyman Institute Academic Council member Prof. Alan Berger (Florida Atlantic University) reviewed Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust (ed. Alexandra Zapruder).


    1. Wyman Institute Academic Council member Prof. Laurel Leff and Institute director Dr. Rafael Medoff, were among the featured speakers at a conference on FDR and the Holocaust at Youngstown State University in April. The conference was organized by Prof. Saul Friedman of YSU, a member of the Wyman Institute’s Academic Council and author of No Haven for the Oppressed. Prof. Leff is author of Buried by the Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.

      An essay coauthored by Leff and Medoff, concerning FDR’s response to the persecution of German Jewry, was published in the American Jewish World (Minnesota), the Canadian Jewish Tribune, and other newspapers on May 6. See The Canadian Jewish Tribune.


    1. Rafael Medoff’s new essay about teaching the Holocaust through cartoons appeared in the New Jersey Jewish Standard, J (the Jewish newsweekly of northern California), and elsewhere on June 4. See: The Jewish News Weekly.


    1. Academic Council member Dr. Myrna Goldenberg spoke recently at a meeting of the Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Friends of George Washington University.


    1. Academic Council member Dr. Efraim Zuroff (Simon Wiesenthal Center) was the subject of a May 25 feature story in the German newspaper Taz concerning “Operation:Last Chance,” his campaign to capture fugitive Nazi war criminals.


  1. In the June 5 edition of the Montreal Gazette, Academic Council member Prof. Gil Troy (McGill University) reviewed the new book Those Who Forget the Past: the Question of Anti-Semitism (ed. Ron Rosenbaum), which includes an afterword by Cynthia Ozick, chair of the Wyman Institute Arts & Letters Council.