Resilience and Courage: Women, Men, and the Holocaust – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Resilience and Courage: Women, Men, and the Holocaust

Nechama Tec will present “Resilience and Courage: Women, Men, and the Holocaust” at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, in the Geneva Room.

Sociologist and professor emerita at the University of Connecticut, Nechama Tec speaks about the different experiences of Jewish women and men during the Holocaust. Her work, which entails insightful analysis of her careful interviews with Holocaust survivors, has been regarded as “the best and most comprehensive gender analysis of Jewish Holocaust survivors and resistors to date.”

As survivors reflect on their experiences living in and leaving the ghetto, in the concentration camps, hiding and passing, and resistance, Tec charts the contours of gender relations in different ways. Her perspective illuminates Nazi anti-Jewish gender policies and ideology involving “special degradation and murder of Jewish men” and, with that, the implications for Jewish women, who often stepped in, along with their children, to aid families, friends, communities, and broadened their duties to include support for their families and resistance.

In detailing the everyday, Tec's study offers significant insight into “life in extremis” and of the different gender implications and responses under “extreme, violent and unpredictable worlds.” Taken in conjunction with her Holocaust scholarship since the 1970s, her groundbreaking research concentrates on the “intricate relationships between self-preservation, compassion, altruism, rescue, resistance and cooperation.”

Herself a Holocaust survivor, Tec's recent book Resilience and Courage, which forms the title of this talk, has received the National Jewish Book Award, and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Tec was appointed by President Bush to the Council of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC, and received an honorary degree from Seton Hall University. Her earlier award-winning books include “Defiance: the Bielski Partisans”; “When Light Pierced the Darkness: Christian Rescue of Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland”; and, “Dry Tears: The Story of a Lost Childhood.”

This lecture is co-sponsored by the Fisher Center lecture series and the Genocide and Human Rights lecture series.

Available Readings: Resilience and Courage: Women, Men, and the Holocaust; Defiance: The Bielski Partisans; In the Lion's Den: The Life of Oswald Rufeisen; When Light Pierced the Darkness: Christian Rescue Jews of Nazi-Occupied Poland; Dry Tears: The Story of a Lost Childhood.