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Friday, August 1, 2014

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Shoah studies program seeks master’s students

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Arieh Kochavi

The hope for the University of Haifa’s new Holocaust studies graduate program – the first of its kind in Israel – is that it will address the declining number of young students who choose to pursue an academic career in the field.

Michael Meyer, fundraising director for the Canadian Friends of Haifa University, said he hopes the program will breathe new life into the aging community of Holocaust studies scholars.

“A lot of people in Shoah studies are getting older, and not many younger people are getting involved in the courses, and they’re concerned about that,” Meyer said.

Although Holocaust studies courses are available at universities all over Israel, this is the first program in Israel that offers a master’s degree.

Prominent World War II scholar Arieh Kochavi, who heads the year-long master’s program, as well as the Strochlitz Institute for Holocaust Studies at the university, said in a statement that the multidisciplinary program is designed to train a new generation of Holocaust scholars to explore newly uncovered documents and archives in Israel, Germany and Poland.

Museums such as the Ghetto Fighters’ House museum and Yad Vashem in Israel, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., will collaborate with the program’s administrators to provide students access to archives.

The multidisciplinary aspect of the program enables students from backgrounds in history, international law, and social psychology to explore the Holocaust through different lenses, Meyer said.

The program also includes two study trips to Germany and Poland in partnership with local institutes, including the Center for Research on Anti-Semitism at the Technical University of Berlin (ZFA), the Polish Academy, and the Center for Holocaust Research at the Jagiellonian University of Krakow, Poland. 

In addition to visiting sites that are relevant to Jewish life before and during the war, students will also have the opportunity to attend seminars with leading German and Polish scholars.

Meyer said he’s hoping to attract some Canadians students to the program, which runs in English.

“We’re trying to get this course out to as many people as possible, even those who can’t afford it. For those who can’t afford it, we’re looking to raise scholarship money,” he said.

“For people who live outside of Israel, it costs about $18,000, and that includes tuition, room and board.”

He said Israeli students can be sponsored for $12,000.

Applications are currently being accepted for the program, which begins in October. For more information, contact Meyer at mmeyer@haifa-univ.ca, or call 416-917-6648.

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