Center for Holocaust, Genocide, & Human Rights Studies

Upcoming Center for HGHR Studies events

February 9, 11:00 am - 12:15 pm, McKnight Hall (in Cone Center), UNC Charlotte campus

A Warning from History and a Story of Survival: Lecture and dialogue with Holocaust survivor Dr. Susan Cernyak-Spatz

Susan Cernyak-Spatz, who is a Professor Emerita of German Literature at UNC Charlotte, was born in Vienna and in 1929 moved with her family to Berlin, where they witnessed Hitler’s rise to power. As she commented in her November 9, 2016 talk on our campus, in present-day America she sees certain developments that are alarmingly reminiscent of the bigotry and fear-mongering; right-wing nationalism and populism; and hate-filled mobs and rhetoric of Berlin and Vienna in her youth.

Susan's family fled to Prague in March 1938. Her father managed to escape to Belgium, but the Nazis arrested and eventually deported Cernyak-Spatz and her mother. She survived Auschwitz-Birkenau and the women’s concentration camp of Ravensbrück. Her mother died in the Theresienstadt ghetto.

In July 1946, Cernyak-Spatz emigrated to the United States. She completed a dissertation on German Holocaust literature in 1971. In 2005, Dr. Cernyak-Spatz published her memoirs, copies of which will be available after the talk. Dr. Cernyak-Spatz will speak not only as a survivor, but as a teacher and academic who went on to work in areas closely related to the horrors she experienced in the Holocaust.

February 13, 7:00 pm, Queens University campus, Ketner Auditorium (lower level of Sykes Learning Center): 

Workshop led by Diya Abdo: "Every Campus a Refuge"

Co-sponsored by Queens University's Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice

Campus map

Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of English, Guilford College; director of "Every Campus a Refuge" initiative. Dr. Abdo is also currently working on a book, Arab Women Writers: Creative Negotiations of Contested Spaces. Her research interests include Arab women writers and Arab and Islamic feminisms.

More about Every Campus a Refuge—"A High-Impact Community of Practice": Inspired by Pope Francis’ call on every European parish to host one refugee family, Guilford College’s Every Campus a Refuge initiative advocates for temporarily housing refugees on campuses and assisting them in resettlement. Thus far, Guilford has hosted and assisted in resettling two Syrian families and a Ugandan and are currently hosting an 11-member family from January to May, 2017.


March 2, 2:00 - 3:15 pm, McEniry 124, UNC Charlotte campus

Pioneering Holocaust historian John K. Roth: "Failures of Ethics: Comprehending Genocide and Atrocity"

Dr. Roth’s latest book, The Failures of Ethics, concentrates on the multiple shortfalls and shortcomings of thought, decision, and action that tempt and incite us human beings to inflict incalculable harm. Absent the overriding of moral sensibilities, if not the collapse or collaboration of ethical traditions, the Holocaust, genocide, and other mass atrocities could not have happened. Although these catastrophes do not pronounce the death of ethics, they show that ethics is vulnerable, subject to misuse and perversion, and that no simple reaffirmation of ethics, as if nothing disastrous had happened, will do.

Moral and religious authority has been fragmented and weakened by the accumulated ruins of history and the depersonalized advances of civilization that have taken us from a bloody twentieth century into an immensely problematic twenty-first. What nevertheless remain essential are spirited commitment and political will that embody the courage not to let go of the ethical but to persist for it in spite of humankind's self-inflicted destructiveness.


Professor Roth is a renowned and prolific scholar of philosophy, religion, and Holocaust Studies. He served as the Founding Director of the Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights (now the Center for Human Rights) at Claremont McKenna College. Professor Roth has published hundreds of articles and reviews, and authored, co-authored, or edited more than fifty books, including:  Approaches to Auschwitz: Ethics During and After the Holocaust; Rape: Weapon of War and Genocide; Encountering the Stranger: A Jewish-Christian-Muslim Trialogue; The Failures of Ethics: Confronting the Holocaust, Genocide, and Other Mass Atrocities; and Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust.

Dr. Roth has been honored with a Koerner Visiting Fellowship at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies in England and as the Ina Levine Invitational Scholar at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Besides serving on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, he also has received the Holocaust Educational Foundation's Distinguished Achievement Award for Holocaust Studies and Research.

For more information: John Cox,

also speaking March 2, 7:00 pm, Queens University campus, Ketner Auditorium (lower level of Sykes Learning Center): John K. Roth 

Co-sponsored by Queens University's Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice

Campus map

To register for the Queens event (the event is free, but space is limited): 


March 30, 11:00 am - 12:15, CHHS room 145 (UNC Charlotte campus): 

Timothy Lovelace"William Worthy's Passport: Travel Restrictions and the Cold War Struggle for Civil and Human Rights"

Co-sponsored by the Departments of Africana Studies, Political Science and Public Administration, and of History, as well as the Center for HGHR Studies and its department, Global Studies

Associate Professor of Law at Indiana University. His current book project, titled The World is on Our Side: The Black Freedom Movement and U.S. Origins of the U.N. Race Convention, examines how civil rights activists in the U.S. South helped to inform the development of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

In April 1964 Malcolm X boldly challenged black activists to “expand the civil rights struggle to the level of human rights” and “take the case of the black man in this country before the nations in the U.N.” But nearly two years earlier, William Worthy, black America’s star foreign correspondent, had taken his case before both U.S. courts and the United Nations. In 1961 Worthy defied the U.S. travel ban to Cuba to report on racial progress on the island. The State Department had the names of more than two hundred citizens who had violated the travel ban, but federal officials singled out the radical journalist for prosecution, making him the first American convicted of returning to the United States without a valid passport. H. Timothy Lovelace Jr. explores how Worthy invoked the U.S. Constitution and international human rights law to fight his selective prosecution and uses Worthy v. United States to offer fresh understandings of black internationalism in the 1960s.

Link to Dr. Lovelace's June 2016 journal article on this topic

Click here for complete list of our 2016-2017 events



January 27, 2017: "Someone's recounting the tragic story of the MS St. Louis on Twitter: Remembering the murdered, one tweet at a time"

"The St. Louis Manifest account was created by Russell Neiss, an educator and coder, and grandson of two refugees from Europe who survived the Holocaust. He told The Verge that the account came out of a conversation he had with a colleague Thursday night. “The United States Holocaust Museum and Memorial did all the heavy lifting” when it came to the passengers’ identities, he explained. Several years ago, the museum attempted to identify everyone on the ship. With that data, Neiss wrote up a simple Python script that scraped the information off the website and set up a Twitter bot automatically tweet it out. The entire project took him an hour or so to set up."

Full text

December 7, 2016: Our Center is among the 100 or so organizations that have signed this statement, released today by the Association of Holocaust Organizations:

NEW YORK (Press Release) — In a statement issued by an array of Holocaust institutions, scholars and educators from around the world, an alarm is being sounded on the rise of groups that promote intolerance and promote hate speech. These 90 institutions and 71 individuals call on lawmakers to condemn white nationalist groups and ask citizens to be vigilant.

The statement is as follows:

Recent months have seen a surge in unabashed racism and hate speech – including blatant antisemitism and attacks on Hispanics, Muslims, African-Americans, women, the LGBTQ community, as well as other targeted groups.  Journalists have been threatened.  Places of worship, schools and playgrounds have been defaced with Nazi symbols intended to intimidate and arouse fear.  White supremacist groups have become self-congratulatory and emboldened.

As Holocaust scholars, educators and institutions, we are alarmed by these trends.  History teaches us that intolerance, unchecked, leads to persecution and violence.  We denounce racism and the politics of fear that fuels it.  We stand in solidarity with all vulnerable groups.  We take Elie Wiesel’s words to heart: “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.”

Therefore, we call upon all elected officials as well as all civic and religious leaders to forcefully and explicitly condemn the rise in hate speech and any attacks on our democratic principles.  We call upon all media and social media platforms to refuse to provide a stage for hate groups and thus normalize their agenda.  And we call upon all people of good conscience to be vigilant, to not be afraid, and to speak out.

This statement is co-authored by members of the Association of Holocaust Organizations, a network dedicated to the advancement of Holocaust education, remembrance and research, and is affirmed by the following institutions and individuals: full list: