digital project focuses on Nebraska Holocaust stories | Nebraska today

Beth Dotan has worked in Holocaust education for many years, including at the Ghetto Fighters House Museum in Israel and as founding director of the Institute for Holocaust Education in Omaha. While pursuing her doctorate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she saw an opportunity to continue this work and focus specifically on survivors and liberators in Nebraska.

Dotan is developing the digital humanities research project “Nebraska Stories of Humanity: Holocaust Survivors and the Second World War Veterans”, which aims to highlight these people, who are part of the fabric of communities and the history of the State.

“Over the past 20, 25 years, we’ve developed pedagogy across the country, to provide Holocaust counseling and education,” said Dotan, a doctoral student in teaching, learning and teacher education. “In a way, we were all learning how to do this together, and since then there has been a plethora of organizations and guidelines in the work of Holocaust education, anti-Semitism and of genocide studies.

“I made another change to come back and continue my PhD, looking at the theory of Holocaust teaching materials and memory and how we can preserve the memories of individuals who have settled in our communities and document how they survived and overcame challenges and gave a lot to Nebraska in different ways.

Through her past work and the places she lived, Dotan knew many families of survivors and liberators in Nebraska communities.

“I realized that I held memories that needed to be shared,” Dotan said during a presentation about the project for the College of Education and Humanities. “I chose to return to Nebraska from Israel to pay homage to our local survivor/liberator stories – to establish a larger vision of how we work and interact with their legacy.”

To tell these stories and provide guidance to educators in using these materials in the classroom, Dotan chose the digital humanities archival format for “Nebraska Stories of Humanity”. The project shines a light on both Holocaust and World War II survivors II veterans who played a role in the liberation of Nazi concentration camps. The project tells their stories through letters, documents, photos, maps and other artifacts, all annotated and organized by individual. It will provide educational frameworks and concepts to help in the classroom, as well as for the general researcher.

The first iteration of the project, slated to go live in April, features five people and their stories: former Husker Hanna Rosenberg; Clarence Williams, a Lincoln veteran and Dachau liberator who used his camera to document his service; Irving Sharpiro, who after surviving the Holocaust settled in Gering, Nebraska; Bea Karp, a child survivor who lived in Omaha; and Maurice Udes, a Jewish veteran who also helped liberate Dachau and later developed Builder’s Supply in Omaha.

“We wanted to start with a range of people who moved to Nebraska, had different experiences and backgrounds, but all connected to us as neighbors and as people who influenced us,” Dotan said. . “Irving Shapiro, for example, was one of the first to hire people from the Latino community to work for him, as an immigrant himself.”

The multidisciplinary project is in partnership with the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, where a dedicated development team developed the site and where it will be hosted, and is overseen by faculty advisor and co-lead researcher Ari Kohen, Schlesinger Professor of Social Justice and director of the Norman and Bernice Harris Center for Judaic Studies. Additionally, Dotan works with UCARE students on the project and receives advice from Carrie Heitman, associate professor of anthropology at the School for Global Integrative Studies and associate director of the CDRHand Gerald Steinacher, James A. Rawley Professor of History.

Dotan has secured funding from the Cooper Foundation, Humanities Nebraska, the Harris Center and more to expand the archive.

“We want to continue to aggregate as much material as possible that we find through internet searches, but also through families and their testimonies, so that we can tell these people’s stories as a Nebraska story,” Dotan said. “We can understand that even though these events happened 80 years ago, we are still very much connected in different ways.”

About Michelle Anderson

Check Also

The Hallow app, partner of the Archdiocese of Detroit on the I AM HERE campaign focusing on the Eucharist

The National Eucharistic Revival and I AM HERE come in response to the small percentage …