The Fred Marcus Memorial Holocaust Lecture is under the auspices of the Holocaust Awareness Institute of the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Denver. HAI, which promotes Holocaust awareness and education in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region, is the ideal organization to house the lecture and to continue and further its place as a significant event in the Denver community.
The lecture was created in 2003 in memory of Fred Marcus, a beloved Jewish educator and a survivor of the Shanghai ghetto. For many years, Fred served as a member of the Speakers Bureau of the Holocaust Awareness Institute, teaching students and members of churches and synagogues about the Holocaust.
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In October 2014 (exact date to be announced shortly), the event will feature a live, one-person, one-act play performed by well-known Denver actress Judy Winnick portraying Miep Gies, who helped the Frank family and the others hiding in the "annex" at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam. Both Miep and her husband were recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous among the Nations.
The 11th Annual Fred Marcus Memorial Holocaust Lecture took place on October 27, 2013 at the Elaine Wolf Theatre at the JCC in Denver. Dr. Stephen D. Smith, Executive Director of the USC Shoah Foundation, The Institute for Visual History and Education spoke about "Testimonies and Technology." In his talk, he discussed the nearly 52,000 Holocaust Testimonies gathered by the foundation and how they are being digitized, dispersed, and currently used for educational purposes around the world and how new technology will enable them to be used in new ways, including interactively.
The 10th annual Fred Marcus Memorial Holocaust Lecture took place on Sunday, October 28th at 4 p.m. at Infinity Park Event Center in Glendale, Colorado.
The speaker was Pierre Sauvage, who captivated the audience at the 2004 Fred Marcus Memorial Holocaust Lecture with his film "Weapons of the Spirit," abou the residents of the French town of LeChambon, who rescued him and his family during World War II, along with 5,000 other Jews. At the 2012 lecture, Sauvage previewed and discussed his fascinating, soon-to-be released film about Varian Fry, a courageous and little known American rescuer.
The 9th annual Fred Marcus Memorial Holocaust Lecture took place on March 13, 2011 at 4 p.m. at Infinity Park Event Center in Glendale, Colorado.
The speaker was Dr. James Young of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, an expert in the area of memorials and a member of the jury for the Berlin Holocaust memorial and the 9/11 memorial. Young's illuminating talk on "The Stages of Memory: Berlin and New York" was accompanied by photographs of memorials all over the world. His presentation was followed by a panel of academics from the University of Denver and the Iliff School of Theology, each of whom spoke on how their work relates to memorials and also on the benefits to the college and the community at large of the Holocaust Memorial and Social Action Site being built by the Center for Judaic Studies/Holocaust Awareness Institute on the D.U. campus.
The annual teacher training for local teachers of the Holocaust, now renamed the Fred Marcus Teacher Training Program, once again preceded the Marcus Lecture.
The 8th Annual Fred Marcus Memorial Holocaust Lecture took place on March 14, 2010 at Infinity Park Event Center in Glendale, Colorado. Author Dr. Ann Weiss spoke to 600 people, the largest crowd in the lecture’s history, recounting the discovery at Auschwitz of the only known surviving collection of photos from a transport. Devoting 25 years to researching the photos, Weiss found out the identity of many of those in the photos and collected them in a book, The Last Album: Eyes from the Ashes of Auschwitz-Birkenau, which she signed at the reception after her presentation.
In February, prior to the Marcus Lecture, Dr. Weiss took part in a training session for 100 local junior high and high school teachers of the Holocaust, jointly co-sponsored by the Holocaust Awareness Institute and the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Denver and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Many of these teachers brought their students to the 2010 lecture. It was gratifying to see 160 young people in the audience.
A sellout crowd of 500 people attended the 7th Annual Fred Marcus Memorial Holocaust Lecture where they were inspired by the film "Nicholas Winton: The Power of Good." The film details the heroic efforts of Nicholas Winton, a 29-year-old stockbroker who in 1939 saved 669 Czech children by bringing them to Britain on Kindertransports and finding foster homes for each of them. He told no one of his deeds--including his wife--until about 15 years ago she found the records in their attic. Tomas Graumann, one of "Winton's Children," introduced the film and spoke of his own experiences of leaving his family and being cared for by a single woman in Scotland. 2009 Sponsors
The 2008 featured speaker was Dr. Shirli Gilbert, Karten Lecturer in Modern Jewish/non-Jewish relations at the University of Southampton, England. Dr. Gilbert is the author of Music in the Holocaust: Confronting Life in the Nazi Ghettos and Camps (Oxford University Press, 2005), the first large-scale critical account of the role of music among communities imprisoned under the Nazis. She enlightened the audience with a discussion of the place of Yiddish songs among partisans, ghetto dwellers, and camp inmates, enriching her talk with actual recordings from the time.
The speaker at the fifth annual lecture was Robert Bielsky, whose father and two uncles saved 1200 Jews in the forests of Poland during World War II. He was introduced by Denver resident Paula Burger who, as an eight-year-old child, lived in the forest with the Bielsky group. This absorbing and little known story is detailed in a book called The Bielski Brothers by Peter Duffy (HarperCollins, 2003), as well as in a recent documentary on the History Channel. The lecture, which took place in the Driscoll Ballroom at the University of Denver, was attended by a sellout crowd of 500.
The fourth annual Fred Marcus Memorial Holocaust Lecture took place on April 2, 2006, at Temple Sinai in Denver, Colorado. The sold out event featured a lecture entitled "Shanghai Revisited: The Refugee Diaries of Fred Marcus" by Rena Krasno and Audrey Friedman Marcus.
Following the lecture, 25 former refugees in Shanghai were honored for their courage in surviving the difficult years in China and for becoming successful and contributing American citizens. Each received a booklet called "Flight and Rescue," published by the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum, that features an excellent chapter on Jews in Shanghai. In addition, a certificate was awarded to all of the "Shanghailanders," informing them of a generous donation made in their honor to the Sino-Judaic Institute for the continuation of research about the Jews in China.
Participants adjourned to a delightful reception that featured the opening of the exhibit "Shanghai: Refuge During the Holocaust." (See the following for information on the exhibit, which will remain at Temple Sinai through April 27, 2006.) Guests were also treated to delicious kosher Chinese hors d’oeuvres and Chinese music. Rena Krasno signed copies of the many books she has written, and there was a display of books on the subject of Jews in Shanghai. The films "Shanghai Ghetto" and "Port of Last Resort" were available for viewing.
The 2005 lecture was given on April 17 by Anna Rosmus, who uncovered the Nazi past of her hometown of Passau, Germany, and has devoted her life to fighting against anti-Semitism and bigotry through her writings and lectures. Prior to the lecture, the audience viewed the Academy Award nominated foreign film, "The Nasty Girl," about Anna’s experiences as a young German battling the establishment.
On March 28, 2004, Pierre Sauvage, a noted filmmaker and child survivor, told the story of the residents of the French town of Le Chambon, who rescued him and his family, along with 5,000 other Jews. His film "Weapons of the Spirit," about this rescue effort, preceded the lecture.
The first Fred Marcus Memorial Holocaust Lecture took place on May 2, 2003, just one year after the death of Fred Marcus. The featured speaker was Rabbi Theodore Alexander, Fred’s lifelong friend from Berlin, Shanghai, and San Francisco. "Port of Last Resort," a film about the Shanghai Jewish experience, was shown the next evening.
These lectures each attracted more than 500 people, and were co-sponsored by a wide range of Jewish organizations and businesses, as well as individuals and foundations.