William Paterson University to Highlight the 1939 Voyage of the St. Louis and Author Talia Lavin During Genocide Awareness Month

The William Paterson University Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies will be hosting several events to commemorate Genocide Awareness Month during April 2021. Highlights include “Refuge Denied,” a focus on the 1939 voyage of the St. Louis, and a lecture by Talia Lavin, author of Culture Warlords: My Journey into the Dark Web of White Supremacy. All events are free and virtual.

“We are honored to present these exceptional programs during Genocide Awareness Month,” says Alison Dobrick, associate professor, College of Education, and director of William Paterson University’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. “The St. Louis brings alive a key moment in the history of the Holocaust, and we will have the privilege to hear from a panel that includes a passenger on this famous, ill-fated ship, an author of a children’s book based on the experiences of its passengers, and a foremost expert on Holocaust history.”

“We are also proud to welcome acclaimed journalist and author Talia Lavin,” says Dobrick. “Her 2020 book, Culture Warlords, is an important contribution to the conversation on modern antisemitism, racism, and hatred in the online world. Her work uncovers truths about the white supremacist hate groups and terrorist cells that threaten our country today.”

On Wednesday, April 7, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., “Refuge Denied” will focus on the May 1939 voyage of the German liner St. Louis, carrying 937 passengers, nearly all Jewish refugees. Passengers were refused entry to multiple countries including the United States and Cuba and many on the boat were later killed in the Holocaust. This program will be held in commemoration of Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, a Jewish holiday that begins on the evening of April 7. Speakers include Barbara Krasner, author of 37 Days at Sea: Aboard the MS St. Louis, and director of MCCC  Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Center; Hans Fisher, professor emeritus, Rutgers University, and a St. Louis passenger; and Scott Miller, retired director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and co-author of Refuge Denied. Dobrick will be the moderator. This event will be held by the Mercer Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Center and is co-sponsored by William Paterson’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. RSVP to HGHRCenter@mccc.edu.

On Monday, April 12, from 6 to 7 p.m., Talia Lavin, journalist and author of Culture Warlords: My Journey into the Dark Web of White Supremacy, will speak. Lavin, a frequent target of extremist trolls, dove into the online culture of hate and learned the intricacies of how white supremacy proliferates on the web. In her book, she combines compelling stories with her own in-depth research. She also turns the lens of antisemitism, racism, and white power back on itself in an attempt to dismantle and decimate the online hate movement from within.

This event is sponsored by a generous grant from the B L Manger Foundation and by the University’s College of Education and Alumni Association Lectureship Fund. Register at this link: https://wpunj.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_FHg60EIxTR23PZrOemrYhg

Other events for teachers, William Paterson faculty and alumni include:

Friday, April 9 at 12:30 p.m.: Melissa Mikel, director of education, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, Toronto, ON and author, The Doll: A Child’s Survival of the Holocaust 

Wednesday, April 14, at 6 p.m.: Holocaust and Genocide Studies: Connecting the Curriculum, to be held for William Paterson University alumni 

Thursday, April 15, 12:30 p.m.: The Paradox of Education: Envisioning Educators' Roles in Dismantling Hate, for William Paterson faculty members

Wednesday, April 21, 4 p.m.: Teaching the Armenian Genocide, a teacher workshop

For more information or to register for the events, contact Alison Dobrick, director, William Paterson University’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, at dobricka@wpunj.edu.