“Making Light” in Darkness: The Westerbork Cabaret

The Westerbork Transit Camp, which most famously housed Anne Frank and her family before they were deported to Auschwitz, was the home of one of the most extraordinary cabarets of the Holocaust era. Under the direction of Max Ehrlich and Willy Rosen, the cabaret sought to bring humor and music both to Nazi officers and to inmates. Eisen’s project has focused on aggregating resources on the Westerbork Cabaret and creating a website to promote further research.

Hinda Tzivia Eisen is a candidate for cantorial ordination and master’s of Jewish studies degree at Hebrew College’s School of Jewish Music. She currently leads services and tutors students at Congregation Kehillath Israel in Brookline, and serves as the assistant to the conductor for the Zamir Chorale of Boston.


Postcards from Auschwitz?: The Ethics of Visiting Sites of Trauma

Natalie Bormann and Veronica Czastkiewicz will speak about their summer 2013 experience of leading a group of 23 Northeastern undergraduate students on a Holocaust Dialogue of Civilizations (study abroad program) to Germany and Poland, with visits to Munich, Nuremberg, Berlin, Warsaw, and Krakow. This talk chronicles some of the (often unexpected) challenges and tensions the group encountered on its journey through today’s Holocaust memorial landscape. This presentation will ask what memories spaces hold; where the line is drawn between visiting sites of trauma and vacationing at those sites; and what exactly one ‘brings back’ from such experiences. The talk concludes by exploring the limits of teaching about the Holocaust today.

Natalie Bormann joined the Department of Political Science at Northeastern University after holding positions at Brown University, and the Universities of Manchester and Edinburgh in the U.K. Her current work explores the role of trauma and ethics in international politics, the relation between violence and memory, and questions of identity in formulating foreign and security policies. She co-leads the Holocaust Dialogue to Germany and Poland (2013, 2014).

Veronica Czastkiewicz is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at Northeastern University. Her research focuses on political rhetoric, education policy, and American exceptionalism. Her dissertation will examine the melodramatic language that surrounds education and school choice in the United States. She co-leads the Holocaust Dialogue to Germany and Poland (2013, 2014).