Wyman Institute Update – July 28, 2006

I. Recent & Forthcoming Wyman Institute Activities

Holocaust Whistle-Blower Honored
at Wyman Institute Conference

It was standing room-only at the University of Pennsylvania Law School on June 11, at the Wyman Institute’s fourth national conference, “Blowing the Whistle on Genocide: Josiah E. DuBois, Jr. and the Struggle for an American Response to the Holocaust.” Penn Law School alumnus Josiah E. DuBois, Jr. (1913-1983) was the focus of the conference. DuBois was a Treasury Department official who played the central role in exposing the State Department’s obstruction of rescue from the Holocaust.

Wyman Institute associate director Benyamin “Buddy” Korn, who organized the event, and Penn Law School professor Harry Reicher, the master of ceremonies, opened the conference and introduced the first session. It featured remarks by DuBois’s son, Robert DuBois; Morgenthau’s son, Henry Morgenthau III; Prof. Wyman; and the conference chair, Richard C. Goodwin. Mr. Goodwin is the founder of the Josiah E. DuBois, Jr. Memorial Essay Contest, in which high school students discuss what the have done to emulate the spirit of DuBois’s actions in the 1940s; two recent winners of the contest read excerpts from their prize-winning essays at the conference.

The first afternoon session focused on the links between genocide then and now, with remarks by Mark Hanis, head of the Genocide Intervention Network, and former U.S. Congressman Stephen Solarz, cofounder of the International Crisis Group (and Wyman Institute board member), concerning the mass murder committed by Arab militias in Sudan. The second afternoon session showcased new scholarship concerning DuBois. Prof. Harry Reicher spoke about DuBois’s legacy as a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trial. Wyman Institute director Dr. Rafael Medoff discussed his research about how DuBois surreptitiously provided the media with information about the State Department and the Holocaust.

This session also featured video excerpts from an interview with DuBois in the film “Who Shall Live, Who Shall Die,” with comments by filmmaker Laurence Jarvik of Johns Hopkins University.

The final session of the day marked the debut of a new feature of Wyman Institute conferences, the Yitshaq Ben-Ami Memorial Colloquium on Rescue from the Holocaust. Chaired by Ben-Ami’s daughter, Deborah Benami-Rahm, this session focused on the work of Yitshaq Ben-Ami and his Bergson group colleagues. Speakers included the sons and daughters of Bergson Group activists: Prof. Herbert Wilf and Mrs. Dina Block, the children of Alex Wilf, who was founder of the group’s Philadelphia division and later became director of Bergson’s New York headquarters; and Jack Yampolsky, whose parents, Betty and Louis Yampolsky, were active both locally and nationally. As the Bergson group’s pro bono accountant, Lou successfully defended the group from a politically-motivated effort by the IRS to find evidence of financial irregularities in order to shut it down.

* * *

Holocaust Rescuer Honored on Capitol Hill

The Wyman Institute organized a recent Capitol Hill event to celebrate the issuing of a new U.S. postage stamp honoring U.S. vice-consul Hiram Bingham IV for his work with journalist Varian Fry to rescue Jewish refugees from the Nazis.

The event was cosponsored Wally Findlay Galleries International, in cooperation with U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos. Dr. Kay King, of the House International Relations Committee, was coordinator of the event.

James Borynack, chairman and CEO of Wally Findlay Galleries and Wyman Institute board member, served as Master of Ceremonies at the standing-room-only event. Speakers included Bingham’s son Robert, who led the campaign to persuade the Postal Service to issue the stamp; his siblings, Abigail and Bill; Congressman Lantos; U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, Bingham’s home state; Congressman Rob Simmons of Connecticut; former New York State Senator Franz Leichter, who as a child escaped from Europe with his family thanks to Bingham; Prof. Marianne Pennekamp of UC-Berkeley, who was rescued by Bingham; Dr. Bella Meyer, art historian and granddaughter of Marc Chagall; and Sara Bloomfield, director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Panels about Bingham from Eric Saul’s acclaimed “Visas for Life” exhibit were on display.

* * *

Remembering the March of the Rabbis

In July, the Wyman Institute sponsored a public meeting in Jerusalem focusing on the 1943 rabbis’ march in Washington, D.C. The meeting was held at the Machon Lander (Touro College) Graduate School for Jewish Studies, hosted by its rector, Dr. Carmi Horowitz, and Dr. Monty Penkower, professor of Jewish history. More than one hundred people attended.

Speakers included Prof. Penkower; Dr. Medoff; Dr. Rebecca Kook, daughter of Hillel Kook (Peter Bergson), who conceived and initiated the march; Prof. David Golinkin, president of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, whose grandfather was one of the marchers; Rabbi Reuben Poupko, past president of the Montreal Board of Rabbis, whose father and grandfather marched; and former Israeli Knesset Member and Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Yehuda Ben-Meir, whose father and grandfather also marched.

As a result of the publicity that meeting received (see below), the Wyman Institute has in recent days received calls and emails from a number of additional families of the marchers, thus helping to expand our efforts to document this important episode and educate the public about the lessons to be learned from it.


II. The Wyman Institute in the News

The Wyman Institute’s national conference, at the University of Pennsylvania, was the subject of a feature story in the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent … Articles about the Wyman Institute’s meeting in Jerusalem appeared in the Israeli daily newspaper HaModia, the Israeli magazine Mishpacha, and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news bulletin … Dr. Rafael Medoff recently was a guest on the “Religion on the Line” program on WABC Radio (New York City area), discussing a number of current Holocaust-related controversies in the news … He was also interviewed on the Tovia Singer Radio Show, on Israel National News … Dr. Medoff’s letter about Darfur and the Holocaust was published last month in The New Republic. Letters by Dr. Medoff and by Wyman Institute associate director Benyamin Korn were published recently in the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent.


III. News About Wyman Institute Council and Committee Members

Welcome to the newest member of the Wyman Institute’s Arts & Letters Council:

Dr. Nathan Moskowitz is a self-taught painter whose medrashic biblical-themed transcendent paintings are based on the fusion of multiple visual images derived from multiple interpretations of Hebrew Scripture. A resident of Silver Spring, MD, he has exhibited his work locally in museums and galleries in Maryland and Virginia and has an upcoming exhibit in Australia. He has been requested to paint three biblical pieces for permanent exhibit at the Israel Bible museum. He paints under the name Nahum HaLevi, his Hebrew acronym.

Born in New York City, Nathan earned his MD and PhD (neurochemistry) degrees at he the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and later obtained his surgical and neurosurgical training at Johns Hopkins Hospital and University. He is currently Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute. He is also Chief of Neurosurgery at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, Maryland. Dr. Moskowitz is the author of a Neuroscience book and over thirty journal publications pertaining to Neuroscience and Neurosurgery.

* * *

Academic Council member Prof. Stephen H. Norwood (University of Oklahoma) authored “Legitimating Nazism: Harvard University and the Hitler Regime, 1933-1937,” in the scholarly journal American Jewish History. He unveiled this research at the Wyman Institute’s November 2004 conference at Boston University.

* * *

Academic Council member Prof. Peter Rose (Smith College) authored the foreword to “When the World Closed Its Doors,” by Ida Pillar-Greenspan (Paradigm Publisher, 2006) a memoir, written and illustrated by a now-elderly Jewish artist who, with her husband, struggled to get out of Belgium in 1940. Rose’s reviews of “Roosevelt and the Holocaust,” by Robert Bier, and “Bloodlines: Recovering Hitler’s Nuremberg Laws, from Patton’s Trophy to Public Memoria,” by Anthony M. Platt and Cecilia Elizabeth O’Leary, will be published shortly in Congress Monthly, the magazine of the American Jewish Congress.

* * *

Arts & Letters Council member Yaakov Kirschen, creator of the famous Dry Bones cartoon series, has developed a new Dry Bones Blog featuring his cartoons: http://www.drybonesblog.com/
It won four first place awards in this year’s Jewish and Israeli Blog Awards.

* * *

An exhibition of the artwork of Mark Podwal, a member of our Arts & Letters Council, was held recently at the Yeshiva University Museum and reported in the June issue of ARTnews. In addition, the June issue of Hadassah Magazine included an article about his Centennial Print for the Jewish Museum in Prague. The stunning silkscreen of that print can be viewed (and purchased) at http://www.jewishmuseum.cz/shop/view_pict.php?item=cover/Podwal.jpg

* * *

Academic Council member Dr. Phyllis Chesler delivered a lecture for Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) for the Jewish community in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on problems and controversies in Holocaust memorialization.

* * *

Just before Yom Hashoah, the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, in Jerusalem, together with the Rabbinical Assembly published two more versions of Megillat Hashoah, co-edited by Prof. David Golinkin, president of the Schechter Institute and member of our Advisory Committee. The new editions are Hebrew-Spanish and Hebrew Russian, and can be ordered from Atalia@schechter.ac.il.