Annual Hans Heilbronner Lecture takes place Oct. 29

Tuesday, October 15, 2019
woman in doorway

Maroua, Ben Ezra Synagogue, Cairo, 2017 | Photographed by Joshua Shamsi for the Diarna Geo-Museum

A panel discussion about the history of Muslim-Jewish cooperation and engagement in anti-Nazi resistance will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, at 5 p.m. in 115 Murkland Hall. Part of the Hans Heilbronner Lecture Series, the event is free and open to the public.

The program addresses the impact of the Nazi Holocaust on Jewish communities not usually studied, particularly Sephardic Jews. Panelists will discuss the history of Muslim resistance as well as Muslim–Jewish cooperation for the support, protection and rescue of Jews impacted in the Holocaust. Contemporary Holocaust-related Muslim-Jewish initiatives will also be highlighted.

“Muslim-Jewish relationships remain significant today in an era of rising antisemitism and Islamophobia, Holocaust denial narratives and within current international politics,” says Marla Brettschneider, Pamela Shulman Professor of European and Holocaust Studies at UNH.

Panelists include Jason Guberman, executive director of both the American Sephardi Federation and Digital Heritage Mapping (DHM), as well as coordinator of DHM’s flagship initiative, the Diarna Geo-Museum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life, which digitally preserves the physical remnants of Jewish history throughout North Africa and the Middle East; Eddie Ashkenazi, researcher and research coordinator for Diarna Geo-Museum and a Yeshiva University doctoral student focusing his studies on the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in the modern era; and Mehdi El Bayad, program director for Jewish-Muslim Dialogue Advocacy at Association Mimouna, a Moroccan NGO that seeks to preserve the Moroccan Jewish heritage and promote the Jewish-Muslim dialogue, and deputy treasurer in Solidarité Féminine Association, the first NGO in the MENA region to prevent out-of-wedlock child abandonment using strategies of economic empowerment for single mothers.

An accompanying exhibit at the University Museum is “The Common Ground Between Us: Jewish and Muslim Communities in Morocco, Egypt and Iraqi-Kurdistan,” a Diarna Geo-Museum photography exhibition by Joshua Shamsi, lead photographer for the Diarna Geo-Museum and project director for Beitenu: The Atlas of Jewish Life. The exhibit addresses the nature of Jewish-Muslim relationships in North Africa and the ways in which individuals and communities have cooperated in the past and continue to cooperate today. The exhibit runs October 29 to November 22 (closed Nov. 11), Monday through Friday, 12-4 p.m., and Wednesday 12-7 p.m. in the Dimond Library. An opening reception will take place immediately after the lecture, from 6-8:30 p.m., in Special Collections, Dimond Library.

Housed in the College of Liberal Arts at UNH, the Hans Heilbronner lecture series honors the memory of Hans Heilbronner, professor of history, who served the University of New Hampshire with distinction from 1954 until 1991. This event is sponsored by the Endowed Fund for Holocaust Education and the following at UNH: Center for the Humanities; Classics, Humanities and Italian Studies Department; Middle Eastern Studies Program; Office of Community, Equity and Diversity; Office of Multicultural Student Affairs; Political Science Department; Responsible Governance and Sustainable Citizenship Project; University Museum; and Women’s and Gender Studies Department.