WASHINGTON--On Thursday, President Obama visits the Buchenwald concentration camp memorial near Weimar, Germany. Obama has spoken in the past about how a great uncle, Chicagoan Charles Payne, when a soldier in the 89th Infantry Division helped liberate a Buchenwald subdivision, the Ohrdruf forced labor camp.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has several events coming up this month in Chicago and Highland Park about genocide prevention, Nazism and the U.S. government response to the Holocaust.
Below, from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum...
CHICAGO -- As part of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Chicago Speaker Series, which brings national educational programming to Chicago, Museum archivist Steven Mize will discuss the recently discovered writings of American diplomat James Grover McDonald. McDonald early on recognized the threat that Nazi regime posed to European Jewry and worked tirelessly to warn governments and organizations of the coming danger.
His diaries and papers, most of which were only found in 2004 and then donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, provide a fascinating inside look into many of the key events of the 20th century, from the rise of Nazism to the establishment of the State of Israel. Mize will discuss McDonald's papers, their historical significance and how a combination of detective work and serendipity led to them being donated to the Museum. Indiana University Press, in association with the Museum, is publishing McDonald's papers in a projected three-volume set. The second volume, "Refugees and Rescue, The Diaries and Papers of James G. McDonald, 1934-1945," was published in April 2009.
"Very few individuals interact with such a stunning array of historical figures and events," says Mize. "McDonald had access to the highest levels of governments in the U.S. and abroad for almost three decades. His poignant observations paint a fuller picture of key players on the world stage." Through a number of key diplomatic posts - from League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the 1930s to the first U.S. Ambassador to Israel in 1949 - James McDonald closely interacted with many of the day's leading personalities. His diaries record meetings with; Presidents Hoover, Roosevelt and Truman; Hitler and Mussolini; Cardinal Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII; and Israeli leaders such as David Ben Gurion, Chaim Weizmann and Golda Meir; among many others.
His writings eventually filled more than 10,000 pages and offer a unique first-hand glimpse into events of World War II, the Holocaust and the creation of the State of Israel.
The first program is on Tuesday, June 16 at 7 p.m. at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, 1175 Sheridan Road, Highland Park, IL. The event is chaired by Mally and Alan Rutkoff.
The second program is on Thursday, June 18 at 7 p.m. at Temple Sholom of Chicago, 3480 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL and is being chaired by Roz and Mickey Supera.
Through traveling exhibitions, public programming, teacher training programs, and more, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum brings Holocaust education to Chicago and around the country. This program is part of the Museum's ongoing Chicago Speaker Series, which earlier this year featured Museum archivist Rebecca Erbelding. Erbelding spoke about a unique, recently discovered photo album which provided a first-time look into the lives of SS officers at the largest Nazi killing center.
A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, promote human dignity and prevent genocide. Federal support guarantees the Museum's permanent place on the National Mall, and its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by the generosity of donors nationwide. For more information, visit www.ushmm.org.
Chicago Discussion of Genocide Prevention Task Force U.S. HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM AND U.S. INSTITUTE OF PEACE TO DISCUSS GENOCIDE PREVENTION TASK FORCE AT CHICAGO-KENT COLLEGE OF LAW Task Force co-chaired by Madeleine Albright and William Cohen developed blueprint to improve U.S. Government genocide prevention capabilities
CHICAGO - The Genocide Prevention Task Force was jointly convened by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the United States Institute of Peace and The American Academy of Diplomacy to generate concrete recommendations to enhance the U.S. government's capacity to prevent and respond to emerging threats of genocide and mass atrocities. The Task Force, co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, issued its final report in December 2008.
The report makes the case for why genocide and mass atrocities threaten core American values and national interests.
Task Force members John Heffernan, Director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Genocide Prevention Initiative, and Lawrence Woocher, Senior Program Officer at the U.S. Institute of Peace, will discuss the report's recommendations at Preventing Genocide: A Blueprint for U.S. Policymakers being held at Chicago-Kent College of Law on June 15.
"The Task Force report is a blueprint for how the U.S. government can improve its capacity to prevent mass atrocities and genocide," said Heffernan. "We believe the public cares about this issue and hope to engage them in our efforts to make these recommendations a reality." Bartram S. Brown, Professor of Law at Chicago-Kent College of Law will also deliver remarks, and the discussion will be moderated by Ambassador David Scheffer.
The program will take place Monday, June 15, 2009, at 6:00 p.m. at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, 10th Floor Event Room, 565 West Adams Street in Chicago.
This event is organized in cooperation with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Chicago-Kent College of Law, the United States Institute of Peace, and the United Nations Association of USA Greater Chicago Chapter.
A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, promote human dignity and prevent genocide. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by the generosity of donors nationwide through legacy and annual giving. For more information, visit www.ushmm.org.
The United States Institute of Peace is an independent, nonpartisan, national institution established and funded by Congress. Its goals are to help prevent and resolve violent international conflicts, promote post-conflict stability and development, and increase peacebuilding capacity, tools, and intellectual capital worldwide. The Institute does this by empowering others with knowledge, skills, and resources, as well as by directly engaging in peacebuilding efforts around the globe. ###