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Gross Center Virtual Event: Holocaust Diary of Jew from Alsace to be Discussed

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)February 14, 2022

Alexandra Garbarini

MAHWAH, N.J. – On March 23 at 7 p.m., Alexandra Garbarini, professor of history and Jewish studies at Williams College, will discuss “A Terrible and Terribly Interesting Epoch: The Holocaust Diary of Lucien Dreyfus,” published last year by Rowman & Littlefield. Garbarini will be in conversation about the book with Colleen Tambuscio, a special and general education teacher at New Milford (N.J.) High School and president of the Council of Holocaust Educators.  The program will take place under the auspices of The Gross Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and will be delivered remotely via Webex. All wishing to attend may register here.

The extraordinary wartime diary of Lucien Dreyfus provides a rare glimpse into the daily life of French and foreign-born Jewish refugees under the Vichy regime during World War II. Long hidden, the diary was written by Lucien Dreyfus, a native of Alsace who was a teacher at the most prestigious high school in Strasbourg and the editor of the leading Jewish newspaper of Alsace and Lorraine. On the outbreak of war, in 1939, Dreyfus and his family left Strasbourg along with thousands of other Jewish and non-Jewish residents of the city. They found refuge in Nice, in the south of France. Anti-Jewish laws prevented Dreyfus from resuming his teaching career and his work as a newspaper editor. But he continued to write, recording his trenchant reflections on the situation of France and French Jews under the Vichy regime. American visas allowed his daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter to escape France in the spring of 1942 and establish new lives in the United States, but Lucien and his wife Marthe were not so lucky. Rounded up during an SS raid in September 1943, they were deported and murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau two months later. As the only diary by an observant Jew raised bi-culturally in French and German, Dreyfus’s writing offers a unique philosophical and moral reflection on the Holocaust as it was unfolding in France.

Since 2003, Alexandra Garbarini has been teaching at Williams College, where she also received her undergraduate education. She offers courses on the history of the Holocaust, European Jewish history, and modern European cultural and political history. Her book, Numbered Days: Diary Writing and the Holocaust (2006), was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, Holocaust category.  She is additionally the co-author of Jewish Responses to Persecution, volume 2, 1939-1940, published in 2011 by Altamira Press, in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. In addition to articles and reviews, she co-edited (with Paul Jaskot) Lessons and Legacies, vol. XIII, New Approaches to an Integrated History of the Holocaust: Social History, Representation, Theory, published by Northwestern University Press in 2018. Her current research focuses on European Jewish and non-Jewish representations of mass violence in the decades prior to and during the Holocaust.

For information or to request disability-related accommodations for this event, please contact holgen@ramapo.edu or call 201-684-7409.

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Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Niche.com.

Ramapo College provides its students with individualized attention, mentorship, and supports; hands-on learning; and a range of opportunities for service and leadership development. Its graduation and retention rates exceed national averages and it places approximately 1,000 students per year in internships in New York City. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice; is recognized as the state’s top college on the list of Best Disability Schools by Great Value Colleges; is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools; and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others.  

Ramapo College’s over 40,000 alumni are the confident, intellectually curious, self-aware, and humble people who are highly sought after and who make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels.  Ramapo College is distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com. Every student at Ramapo is enrolled in its unique and award winning Pathways Program which equips and empowers students, across the continuum of their academic career, to secure internships, pursue graduate/professional school, and/or enter the job market. 

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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