Holocaust Scholar to Shed New Light on Responses to the Nazi Ascent to Power in Germany in November Visit

October 16, 2017

The Saint Leo University Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies is honored to host two speaking appearances November 9 by noted Holocaust historian and author Victoria Barnett, PhD. Dr. Barnett works as a scholar at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. She directs the museum’s programs on ethics, religion, and the Holocaust, often working with faith groups when they visit the museum.

black and white photo of destroyed Jewish TempleShe will bring some of her rich scholarship to University Campus, and to a Catholic parish in Tampa. Dr. Barnett’s local appearances have been timed to commemorate the anniversary of Kristallnacht, or the “Night of Broken Glass.” On November 9 and 10, 1938, a series of violent attacks were carried out on Jewish temples (pictured), stores, businesses, and homes in Germany, Austria, and part of what was Czechoslovakia. The pogrom left multiple cities with streets littered with shards of glass from the store windows that were shattered. That haunting image spawned the word “Kristallnacht,” from the combination of the German words for glass or crystal—kristall—and for night—nacht.

Many consider the breadth of the destruction and injury committed during Kristallnacht—state-sanctioned, anti-Jewish crimes of vandalism, arson, personal assaults, theft, and punitive taxation of the victims—the starting point of the years-long Holocaust.       

The Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies marks this date by offering the university community and the general public in Tampa events devoted to education, reflection, and peace building. Dr. Barnett’s two lectures are free and open to the public, but seating reservations and accommodations are advised for large groups, and for people with mobility problems. 

black and white photo of dietrich bonhoefferAt UNIVERSITY CAMPUS, Dr. Barnett is scheduled to speak on the “Theologian against the Nazis: New Questions, New Findings about Dietrich Bonhoeffer” from 2 to 3:30 p.m., in the Greenfelder-Denlinger Boardrooms of the Student Community Center. Bonhoeffer (pictured) is a compelling figure who emerged at a young age as an influential Christian thinker, author, and an operative in a covert resistance movement against the Third Reich. His resistance activities were eventually discovered and he was executed by the Nazis. 

For this event, parties of 15 people or more, and guests who will need assistance getting from their vehicles to the boardrooms, are asked to RSVP to jennifer.orendorf@saintleo.edu. The address for University Campus is 33701 State Road 52, St. Leo, FL, 33574.

In TAMPA, Dr. Barnett will speak on “From Silence to Protest: Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant Responses during the Holocaust”  from 7 to  9 p.m. in the McLoughlin Center at Christ the King Catholic Church, 3809 W. Morrison Ave., Tampa, FL 33629. (The McLoughlin Center is located directly behind the church at 821 S. Dale Mabry Highway.) Rabbi James Rudin, senior interreligious advisor for the American Jewish Committee, will offer a response.

Because of limited seating, an RSVP for this event is required by November 1 to jennifer.orendorf@saintleo.edu.

For those interested in learning more in advance about the speaker and her scholarship, they can see some of her work on the website for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Dr. Barnett wrote the museum’s article on Bonhoeffer.

Dr. Barnett is also the author of For the Soul of the People: Protestant Protest against Hitler (Oxford University Press, 1992) and Bystanders: Conscience and Complicity during the Holocaust (Greenwood Press, 1999), among other works. From 2004 to 2014, she served as a general editor of Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, the English translation series of the theologian’s complete works, published by Fortress Press.

Photos courtesy of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.