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St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

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Revealing the forgotten ties between Jews and Romani victims of Nazi atrocities

From “Rain of Ash: Roma, Jews, and the Holocaust.:” Romani activist demonstrate in front of a USHMC meeting in Washington D.C. in 1984.

In 1989, then Washington University Chancellor William H. Danforth created the Holocaust Memorial Lecture series. Since then, the series has been held annually on or near the date of Nov. 9, the anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogroms in Nazi Germany.

The point of creating the series was not only to commemorate the Holocaust but also to address its broader implications for other instances of systematic persecution, mass murder and genocide. This allows for an alternating source of speakers who concentrate specifically on aspects of the Holocaust and those who speak more generally about modern genocide, international conflict and humanitarian aid or concentrate specifically on particular instances of genocidal violence.

The Holocaust was the first time a modern state used all its administrative, bureaucratic, technological, and military resources to commit genocide and mass murder,” said Dr. Anika Walke, an associate professor of history at WashU and chair of the Holocaust Memorial Lecture Committee. “We need to understand it as such, while also recognizing that in its uniqueness it is connected to other forms of mass violence, not the least through its ideological foundations of racial antisemitism, racism, imperialism, and nationalism.”

2023 Holocaust Memorial Lecture

The 2023 Holocaust Memorial Lecture is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 15 in Umrath Hall. Each speaker is selected by the Holocaust Memorial Committee, which is composed of faculty, students, and staff. Past speakers have included well-known public figures and leading scholars of both the Holocaust and other historical mass traumas.

This year’s featured speaker, historian Ari Joskowicz, is the chair of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University. His new book, “Rain of Ash: Roma, Jews, and the Holocaust” traces the unlikely entanglement of the histories of Jews and Romanies throughout the 20th century, focusing on Western and Central Europe as well as the United States and Israel.”

Joskowicz’s book was published earlier this year and it has been very well received in the field,” said Walke. “We always look to invite scholars who present cutting-edge scholarship and who are able to speak to a broad audience and make their recent work legible to members of the St. Louis community as much as to an academic audience.”

“Roma, Jews, and the Holocaust”

During the Nazi era, Jews and Roma shared little in common besides their simultaneous persecution. Yet the decades of entwined struggles for recognition have deepened Romani-Jewish relations. In his book, Joskowicz traces the stories of many Romani and Jewish victims, survivors, historians and activists, vividly describing the experiences of Hitler’s forgotten victims and charts the evolving postwar relationship between Roma and Jews over the course of nearly a century.

“The history and memory of the persecution and genocide of Roma during the Nazi regime continues to be a rather peripheral theme,” said Walke. “Ari highlights not only this particular experience but also shows how entangled it was and is with the violence experienced by Jews and other groups targeted by racialized persecution and violence.”

Holocaust Memorial Lecture

Who: Ari Joskowicz (Vanderbilt University), author of “Rain of Ash: Roma, Jews, and the Holocaust”
When: Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 5 p.m.
Where: Washington University, Umrath Lounge in Umrath Hall
More: The event is free and open to all, but we ask that you please RSVP here.

| RELATED: On 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, Holocaust survivors say they fear familiar antisemitism



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Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer
Jordan worked at KSDK from 1995 to 2020. Jordan is a three-time Emmy award winner who produced every kind of show from news to specials during his tenure, creating Show Me St. Louis, The Cardinal Nation Show. He started ksdk.com in 2001 and won three Edward R. Murrow Awards for journalistic and website excellence in 2010, 2014 and 2020. Jordan has been married for 25 years and is the father of two college students. He is an avid biker, snowboarder, and beer lover. He created the blog drink314.com, focusing on the St. Louis beer community in 2015. Jordan has an incredible and vast knowledge of useless information and is the grandson of a Cleveland bootlegger.