Friday, August 17, 2012

Genocide Perspectives IV published

Genocide Perspectives is the journal published by the Australian Institute of Holocaust and Genocide Studies.  The AIHGS is a small group of historians and writers who share a passion for keeping alive the memories of those who have died in the genocides that have left deep scars on world history and which still leave a trail of murder and devastation today.  AIHGS grew out of a group of post-graduate students at Macquarie University, Sydney who wanted to maintain their research and interest in different fields of genocide study and awareness.  I was privileged to have been one of those students.

Students are moulded and shaped in no small part by their teachers.  I, along with my colleagues and friends in AIHGS are proud to say that we sat at the feet of one of the greats in Holocaust and Genocide education, a man who has inspired several generations of Australian students to get serious and earnest about doing something to stop the "crime of crimes", a man who I am humbled to call friend.  Colin Tatz is a mensch.  I owe him an enormous debt for helping me better learn the craft of history and research, to question and continue to wonder without growing cynical or bitter at the depravities this line of history will open up.  And with Colin there is always Sandra, his wife and companion who brings her gifts of insight, wisdom and old fashioned common sense to every AIHGS meeting and gathering.

The Master in action!

Nearly twenty years on, AIHGS has evolved from the Centre for Contemporary Genocide, a recognised research body at Macquarie University in the 1990s.  Various circumstances saw the Institute move firstly to Shalom College at the University of New South Wales and then into the digital age as an online global network of scholars.

AIHGS has published monographs, newsletters and occasional pieces, operated courses in genocide history at several universities in Sydney, conducted inservice days for educators in conjunction with the Sydney Jewish Museum, provided historical research assistance for the Armenian, Assyrian and Pontian Greek communities and published a series entitled "Genocide Perspectives". (Vol 1 - 1997 [out of print]; Vol 2 - 2002; Vol 3 - 2006; Vol 4 - 2012).

I have had several essays published in GP Volumes 2,3 and 4.   The first essay was on KL Majdanek and drew from my research into the war history of an Australian soldier, Max Sawyer who was captured by the Germans in Greece in April 1941 and who spent the rest of the war in a number of stalags and finally disappeared into a straflager (punishment camp - illegal under the Geneva Convention) sometime in 1943.  Sawyer's family were convinced that he had been in the notorious concentration camp near Lublin - Majdanek.  I was not able to prove or disprove the claim.  What I did find was the story of an Australian, non-Jew, as far removed from the cultural parameters of European Jew-hatred as could be imagined, carrying memories and behaviour patterns associated with survivors of the camps.

My essay in GP 3 was a survey of the state of research on Pope Pius XII based on my PhD dissertation.  GP 4 contains my essay "The Vatican, the Holocaust and the Archives" an examination of some of the issues surrounding the availability of documents and the underuse of material that has been in the public domain for many years, namely ADSS.

GP 4 is available online via the University of Technology, Sydney (see link above).

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