As part of the HWS Human Rights and Genocide Symposium, Matthias Hass, an expert on the 1942 Wannsee Conference, will speak at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7 in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library.
His talk “The Wannsee Conference: Survivors, Victims and Perpetrators” will discuss the meeting between German government officials and SS leaders as they explored a final plan to murder the Jews of Europe.
Hass works in the academic department of the House of the Wannsee Conference Memorial Site and Education Center in Berlin. He also serves as curator of the travelling exhibition “The Wannsee Conference and the Persecution and Murder of the European Jews.” His expertise includes the fields of politics of memory, European integration and international exchange programs.
Over the years, Hass has worked for a number of organizations such as UNESCO, the Federal Association for Civic Education and the Körber Foundation. He was the director of the U.S. program of Action Reconciliation Service for Peace in Philadelphia from 2005 – 2009.
At the Free University of Berlin, he studied political science and specialized in the field of historical foundations of politics and the politics of memory. Through various organizations and universities, Hass has organized a number of international exchange seminars for Canadian, Polish, German and American students. He taught at the Free University in Berlin, York University in Toronto and Touro College Berlin and worked at several museums and memorial sites to the Nazi past including the Topography of Terror Foundation.
Established in 1999 at HWS, the Human Rights and Genocide Symposium seeks to improve understanding of all life-annihilation processes inherent in our modern world and to help participants learn more about the circumstances under which life-destruction processes tend to focus on specific groups in events known as genocide.