Roosevelt University’s Center for New Deal Studies and Murray-Green Library have partnered with the House of the Wannsee Conference Memorial and Educational Site in Berlin, Germany to bring an important traveling exhibit to Roosevelt beginning January 30. “The Wannsee Conference and the Persecution and Murder of the European Jews” exhibit documents the role of the Nazi bureaucracy in planning and implementing the Holocaust, and emphasizing the process of persecution and establishment of the killing machinery of the Nazi State. The exhibit will be on display in Roosevelt’s library through March 15.
On January 20, 1942, 15 high-ranking representatives of the Nazi government met in the Wannsee House in Berlin to plan the systematic deportation and murder of European Jews. On the 50th anniversary of the conference, January 20, 1992, the House of the Wannsee Conference Memorial and Education Site opened. The site houses a permanent exhibition from which this traveling exhibition is drawn. This is the only showing in Chicago.
Dr. Matthias Hass, curator of the exhibit at the Wannsee Conference Memorial, will deliver an opening lecture at Roosevelt’s Murray-Green Library on Wednesday, Jan. 30 from 4:30-6 p.m. The exhibit and lecture are free and open to the public. Hass will present his discussion, “The Wannsee Conference, Perpetrators and the Nazi State: The Holocaust 75 Years Later.”
On January 31, Hass will lead a professional development workshop for educators, in which he will use photographs to address the roles and experiences of perpetrators, victims and bystanders of the Holocaust. Educators may also schedule class visits for their students to see the exhibit, led by a member of the Roosevelt University history faculty. The workshop and class visits are free, but registration is required.
"It is especially fitting for Roosevelt University to be hosting this exhibition along with Dr. Hass of the House of the Wannsee Conference Memorial and Education Site,” said Dr. Margaret Rung, professor of history and director of Roosevelt’s Center for New Deal Studies. “The site, which Roosevelt students have visited twice for a travel course on the history and memory of World War II, offers a chilling lesson in how seemingly ordinary bureaucrats and agencies were put in service of state-sponsored atrocities. This timely exhibition and Dr. Hass’s lecture are further reminders of how governments—and the people who support them—can normalize evil."
Hass is a political scientist and expert in the historical foundations of politics. A graduate of the Free University of Berlin, Hass is the author of The Politics of Memory in Germany, Israel and the Unites States of America and is curator at the House of the Wannsee Conference Memorial and Educational Site.
Roosevelt University is a national leader in educating socially conscious citizens for active and dedicated lives as leaders in their professions and communities. As part of the institution’s ongoing commitment to social justice, we believe it is critical to reflect upon cultural injustices throughout history and to actively discuss the implications and relevance of these events in today’s society.