Center for Holocaust, Genocide & Human Rights Studies

Join our Facebook page!  




December 3, 2017: Our Center is supporting this concert performed by UNC Charlotte's School of Music.
And on November 16, we are partnering with the School of Music to show this documentary. The November 16 event (at UNCC's Center City building, 6:30 pm) will include a talk by Susan Cernyak-Spatz, who survived Terezín (aka Theresienstadt ) and Auschwitz.

Defiant Requiem, a feature-length documentary film, highlights the most dramatic example of intellectual and artistic courage in the Theresienstadt (Terezín) Concentration Camp during World War II: the remarkable story of Rafael Schächter, a brilliant, young Czech conductor who was arrested and sent to Terezín in 1941. He demonstrated moral leadership under the most brutal circumstances, determined to sustain courage and hope for his fellow prisoners by enriching their souls through great music.

His most extraordinary act was to recruit 150 prisoners and teach them Verdi’s Requiem by rote in a dank cellar using a single score, over multiple rehearsals, and after grueling days of forced labor. The Requiem was performed on 16 occasions for fellow prisoners. The last, most infamous performance occurred on June 23, 1944 before high-ranking SS officers from Berlin and the International Red Cross to support the charade that the prisoners were treated well and flourishing.

With testimony provided by surviving members of Schächter’s choir, soaring concert footage, cinematic dramatizations, and evocative animation, this unique film explores the singers’ view of the Verdi as a work of defiance and resistance against the Nazis. The text of the Requiem Mass enabled them, as Schächter told the chorus, to “sing to the Nazis what they could not say to them.”

March 2018. Precise date / time / location TBA soon:
Public lecture and conversation with Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, author of  The Shoah Through Muslim Eyes

2015 New York Times article about Dr. Afridi: "Muslim Scholar, Looking to ‘Speak the Truth,’ Teaches the Holocaust and Islam"



We offer a minor in HGHR Studies:

More information: Minor in HGHR Studies



August 29, 2017: Blog post by HGHR director John Cox: "Confederate Memorials: Celebrating Racism, Erasing History"

May 10, 2017:  In response to this week's Islamophobic poster distributed in Wallis Hall, the Center for Holocaust, Genocide & Human Rights Studies reaffirms its support and commitment to all Muslim students at UNC Charlotte and everyone else who has been affected by this hateful act. The Center affirms its uncompromising support and commitment to all students who are identifying and reporting such hateful acts on campus. No student should be penalized for reporting acts of harm and intimidation, and all students should be encouraged to support one another against xenophobia, racism, misogyny, and other forms of bigotry.

(Thanks to the LGBTQ+ Staff and Faculty Caucus, whose statement provided a template for our own.)

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

Recent books by HGHR Center steering committee members

"Scholar’s Book Analyzes Freedom, Citizenship In Study of Black Militia"

History professor Gregory Mixon’s new book analyzes one state’s process of freedom, citizenship and the incorporation of African Americans within the political and economic structure of the United States after the Civil War. Show Thyself a Man: Georgia State Troops, Colored, 1865-1905 (University Press of Florida) explores the history of Georgia’s black militia and how both independent militias and state-sponsored militias defined freedom and citizenship for African Americans.

“Black people had a vision for freedom after the Civil War,” Mixon says. “They had a vision of what citizenship should be and that vision conflicted with white definitions of post-Civil War freedom and citizenship.” Attempts to fulfill the African American vision of freedom have often met with resistance.


"To Kill A People: Cox’s Book Considers Genocide in 20th Century"

.... John Cox emphasized that individuals make choices, although these may be under circumstances difficult to imagine. “We also have it within ourselves to ‘do the right thing,’ so to speak,” he says. “Genocidal violence can begin with small acts that go unopposed; similarly, resistance can begin with small acts or gestures, which then have a rippling effect. One thing we should learn from history is the necessity to be vigilant in defending human rights, and to stand up against bigotry and injustice, and to not keep silent, waiting for the storm to pass. It might not.”


Julia Marie Robinson, UNC Charlotte associate professor of Religious Studies, looks at the role black churches in urban areas in Race, Religion and the Pulpit – Rev. Robert L. Bradby and the Making of Urban Detroit (Wayne State University Press). "During the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to the cities of the Northeast, Midwest, and West, the local black church was essential in the making and reshaping of urban areas. In Detroit, one church and one minister in particular demonstrate this power of the pulpit."