March 17, 2011

March 16

Excerpt from Document Reproduced in Justice Department Report on Mengele

Yesterday we held our 12th Annual Fanya Heller Conference for Educators on the subject, The Medical Profession and the Holocaust. The two hundred or so teachers had the opportunity not only to hear Fanya Heller discuss her own experience during the Holocaust, but also to listen to two scholars on the subject, Dr. William Meinecke from the USHMM and Dr. Michael Grodin from Boston University. We once again provided an opportunity for teachers in middle and high schools to have access to first-rate scholars on important subjects. This program, and other similar ones that we offer to educators from around the region, have earned us a well-deserved reputation for taking teachers seriously and providing them enriching experiences that they can pass on to their students.

As I was listening to one of the lectures, I reflected on the fact that today, March 16th, would have been Josef Mengele’s 100th birthday. As I have written before in this blog, I was actively engaged in the search for Mengele in 1985 and then in the investigation surrounding the identification of his remains. In 1985, we were looking for a 74 year old man – someone who by any actuarial standard would have had a good chance of still being alive at that time. Of course, we did not know that Mengele had already been dead for six years when the investigation went into high gear. He died just before his 68th birthday when he suffered a stroke while swimming in Bertioga, Brazil.

I suppose it was only natural to reflect on how we are on the cusp of new phase in our understanding of the Holocaust and in how we remember it.  Soon there will be no one left who has any personal memory of what transpired.  The world will rely on institutions like ours and symposia like the Fanya Heller Conference for Educators to preserve the memory and educate the public.

1 comment:

Abby said...

Welcome back to the blogosphere! We look forward to more blogs soon.