Discovering Who Owns French Jewish History

Attend this lecture from Professor Lisa Moses Leff as part of the Murray Pantirer Lecture and AJP Distinguished Lecture Series

Campus News > Discovering Who Owns French Jewish History
Discovering Who Owns French Jewish History

Leff's lecture is a part of the AJS Distinguished Lecture Series that educates on Jewish Studies.

Brandon Gervais, Editor

On Tuesday, Nov. 27 in the STEM Building, the Holocaust Resource Center will host a new lecture in the Murray Pantier Memorial Scholar Lecture Series discussing French Jewish history. "Who Owns French Jewish History? The Strange Story of Zosa Szajkowski, Archive Salvager, Historian and Thief" is a presentation by Professor Lisa Moses Leff, author and acting director of academic affairs and senior vice provost at American University. 

This talk is based on Professor Leff's second book The Archive Thief: The Man who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust, which was a finalist for the 2015 National Jewish Book award and recipient of the 2016 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. This work discusses the Jewish historian, Zosa Szajkowski, who collected documents from Nazi buildings in Berlin and public archives and private synagogues in France after the Holocaust and moved them to New York. The book explores the question of who owns French Jewish history.

In the lecture, it will be discussed if the actions of Szajkowski were heroic for the conservation of history or if it was theft. The overhanging questions of the lecture surround Jewish nationalism, history and archiving.

This book discusses the work of Zosa Szajkowski who collected French Jewish History after the Holocaust.

Professor Leff is an author known for creating works that speak on issues of the Jewish community and their history. Her first book, Sacred Bonds of Solidarity: The Rise of Jewish Internationalism in Nineteenth-Century France, explores how French Jews redefined the Jewish identity. 

This lecture is a part of the AJS Distinguished Lecture Program as well as the 2018 Murray Pantirer Lecture Series. AJS is the Association for Jewish Studies and they work to connect people with lectures in the Jewish Studies field.

Every year the Holocaust Resource Center presents the Murray Pantirer Scholars' Lecture Series. Past lectures have been given by known names in the field of Holocaust history, who have all given valuable insight to Kean students and community on the history, culture and experiences of the Jewish community. This year's presentation from Professor Leff as the incoming director of the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum sheds light on the importance of preserving history .

The Holocaust Resource Center is an organization that operates in conjunction with the Holocaust Resource Foundation and works closely with the Human Rights Institute. The Holocaust Resource Center was founded in 1982 by a group of Holocaust survivors who rebuilt their lives in Elizabeth, NJ. 

The resource center offers free graduate courses to teachers on learning how to teach the Holocaust and how to teach prejudice reduction. It has launched an oral history program delivering hours of first-person accounts from survivors. The resource center is dedicated to fostering and reinforcing awareness of the Holocaust among students, teachers and community members.   

about the author

Brandon Gervais, Editor

Brandon Gervais is a junior English education double major. Brandon works as an Editor for The Cougar’s Byte and originally joined the staff as a Staff Writer in November 2017. He is a part of the Leadership Institute as a Gold leader and has worked as a New Student Orientation Leader. In his free time, he is a performer for a world class independent competitive color guard team and coaches the Union High School Color Guard.