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About Us

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.
George Santayana, philosopher

… I have tried to keep memory alive, and have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices.
Elie Wiesel, in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize (Oslo, 1986)

Genocide is … the criminal intent to destroy or to cripple permanently a human group.
Raphael Lemkin, international jurist and originator of the term

For my soul and my academic self, I believe that Holocaust and genocide studies should be dedicated to be a beacon of reverence and caring for all human life.
Israel W. Charny, executive director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide (Jerusalem)


Our mission is to assist students, educators, and the community-at-large in learning the history and lessons of the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, and other similar tragedies.  Through innovative educational programming we seek to promote an understanding of the pernicious consequences of anti-Semitism, racism, ethnic hatred, other forms of bigotry, and violations of human rights; and forge awareness, change attitudes, and introduce new methodologies for the protection of individual liberty and the prevention of genocide.


Founded in 1980 as an independent non-profit organization to sensitize the northern New Jersey community to the tragedy of Hitler’s war against the Jews and other genocides, the Center is now an integral part of Ramapo College. While it receives support from the College, most of the Center’s funding is from private donations. It is a member of the Association of Holocaust Organizations and part of the network of similar organizations under the New Jersey State Commission on Holocaust Education.

The Gross Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies
Dr. Michael Riff, Director
Office: L-319
Telephone: (201) 684-7409

About the Director

The Center’s director is Dr. Michael A. Riff.  An active member of the Ramapo College’s School of Humanities and Global Studies, he participates in several of its programs: History, Human Rights and Genocide Studies, International Studies and Judaic Studies and he teaches the following courses: The Holocaust and the Media (AMER309); The Jews in 20th-Century Europe (HIST219); Modernism and its Discontents: Europe in the Age of Total War  (HIST410); and Paradigms of Genocide (HIST319).

Dr. Riff, who holds a Ph.D. in History from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies of the University of London, is the author of The Face of Survival:  Jewish Life in Eastern Europe, Past and Present. (London: Valentine Mitchell, 1992)  Dr. Riff has written essays and reviews on the history of Central European Jewry, and he was general editor of The Dictionary of Modern Political Ideologies and Movements (Manchester and New York: Manchester U. Press/St. Martin’s Press, 1987). He is currently working on a study about the return of Jews to Czechoslovakia after World War II.

Advisory Board

Peter Safirstein, Esq., Chair;
Lauren Gross, Vice Chair

Rachel Azulay, Student Member, Tamara Berman, Christina Connor, Assessment & Instruction Librarian, Leah Kaufman, Tanya Mayer, Stanley Richmond, Dr. Rebecca Root, Professor of Political Science, Dr. Sharon Rubin, Professor Emerita of Ramapo College, Robert Sek, Linda Sokolski, Colleen Tambuscio, Ani Tchaghlasian, and David Terdiman, Assistant Vice President Institutional Advancement

Ex Officio: Dr. Susan Gaulden, Acting Provost, Dr. Susan Hangen, Dean of the School of Humanities and Global Studies

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