National Archives at Kansas City

Dr. Michael Berenbaum to Discuss <em>From North Africa to Southeastern Europe: The Fate of the Sephardim in the Holocaust</em>

Press Release: July 29, 2015

Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage Exhibition Speaker Series

Dr. Michael Berenbaum to Discuss From North Africa to Southeastern Europe: The Fate of the Sephardim in the Holocaust

For More Information Contact:
Kimberlee Ried, 816-268-8072

Kansas City (MO)…On Wednesday, August 12 at 7:00 p.m., the National Archives and Midwest Center for Holocaust Education, will host Dr. Michael Berenbaum for a discussion titled From North Africa to Southeastern Europe: The Fate of the Sephardim in the Holocaust. Berenbaum's lecture will be held at the National World War I Museum and Memorial, 100 West 26th Street, Kansas City, Missouri.

Light refreshments and exhibit viewing will precede this lecture from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. at the National Archives, 400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, Missouri.

Because most American Jews are can trace their origins to East Europe and because the full impact of the Holocaust decimated the Jews of Eastern Europe, the Holocaust is generally studied and remembered as a primarily Ashkenazi phenomenon, while the history of Sephardic Jews, an extremely diverse set of populations, and their experiences during the Holocaust are far less well known. Berenbaum will explore how the Holocaust that resulted in the murder of nearly 6 million European Jews virtually extinguished great population centers of Sephardi Jewry and led to the almost complete demise of their unique language - Ladino - and its unique traditions. He will explore the fate of the Jews of Greece and the Balkans, of North Africa and even Asia during the Holocaust.

Reservations are requested for this free program by calling 816-268-8010 or emailing Requests for ADA accommodations must be submitted five business days prior to events.

About the Speaker

Michael Berenbaum is an American scholar, professor, rabbi, writer, and filmmaker, who specializes in the study of the memorialization of the Holocaust. He is perhaps best known for his work as Deputy Director of the President's Commission on the Holocaust (1979-1980), Project Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (1988-1993), and Director of the USHMM's Holocaust Research Institute (1993-1997). Berenbaum graduated from Queens College with a Bachelor of Arts degree and received his doctorate from Florida State University. Berenbaum has held teaching posts at Florida State University, Yale University, Georgetown University, Wesleyan University, George Washington University, the University of Maryland, College Park, and American University, and is currently a professor of Jewish Studies at the American Jewish University (Los Angeles). He is the author and editor of eighteen books, including After Tragedy and Triumph, a study of the state of American Jewry in the early 1990s, as well as The World Must Know, Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, and others. Berenbaum is the executive editor of the New Encyclopedia Judaica, that includes 22 volumes, six million words, and 25,000 individual contributions to Jewish knowledge. Berenbaum co-produced One Survivor Remembers: The Gerda Weissmann Klein Story, a film which was recognized with an Academy award, an Emmy Award, and the Cable Ace Award. He was the chief historical consultant for Last Days, which also won an Academy Award in 1998.

About the Iraqi Jewish Heritage Exhibit and Speaker Series

This program is offered in partnership with the National World War I Museum and Memorial and the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education and is a part of the Wednesday Evening Speaker Series presented in conjunction with the exhibit Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage. The exhibition was created by the National Archives and Records Administration, with generous support from the U.S. Department of State. This free exhibition is available for viewing, Tuesday-Saturday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. through August 15, 2015. Group tours are available. For more information call 816-268-8013 or email

Kansas City sponsors include the Community Legacy Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City; Oppenstein Brothers Foundation; Sosland Foundation; H & R Block Foundation; Arvin Gottlieb Charitable Foundation, United Missouri Bank, Trustee; Sprint Foundation; Annette & Sam & Jack Swirnberg Charitable Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee; J-Lead, Flo Harris Supporting Foundation and the Earl J. and Leona K. Tranin Special Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City; Menorah Legacy Foundation; Harry Portman Charitable Trust, United Missouri Bank, Trustee; with additional support from the Jewish Art Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

The Midwest Center for Holocaust Education (MCHE) was founded in 1993 by Holocaust survivors. Its mission is to teach the history and lessons of the Holocaust, applying its lessons to counter indifference, intolerance, and genocide. MCHE honors local survivors and their experiences by recording and communicating their stories to every generation. To learn more, visit

The National Archives at Kansas City is home to historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by Federal agencies in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit us online.

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LPM/LE-KC 2015-019