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Yeshiva University to Create New Holocaust and Genocide Studies Center

Portrait of Emil Fish Emil Fish (photo courtesy of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad)

Yeshiva University announced the creation of the Emil A. and Jenny Fish Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. The Center’s consequential mission will be to train both school and university educators in the field of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, with plans to offer graduate programs in the discipline.

Emil Fish, a Holocaust survivor and the generous benefactor who has made the Center possible, believes that it is important to provide educators with the resources and programs needed to impart the relevancy of the Holocaust to a new generation of students who know less and less about this catastrophic period in contemporary history. By doing so, the Center will play an integral role in the Jewish future by promoting a deeper understanding of the past.

“We must know the history about what happened and why and what the implications are for today,” stated Fish. “The Center will educate young people and adults about a singular event in history that, regrettably, too few people understand, including what conditions existed before the Nazis ascended to power, how they rose to leadership positions and why they targeted Jews.”

The ultimate purpose of the Center is to apply the lessons learned from the Holocaust and other genocides to combat prejudices, hateful ideologies and future atrocities.

“At a moment when Holocaust education and awareness across the globe is transitioning from a pedagogy of living testimony to one anchored in memory, the Center—established through the visionary generosity of Emil and Jenny Fish—will serve a crucial role as a leader and role model for a new generation of Holocaust scholarship and education,” said Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University.

The Emil A. and Jenny Fish Center plans to offer educators interdisciplinary graduate programs in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, incorporating history, Jewish studies, literature, law, philosophy and social work.

The Center, which will be located on YU’s Wilf Campus, will also conduct academic research and organize public events to further the goal of extending Holocaust education to people of all ages and backgrounds. By leveraging the uniquely qualified faculty and resources of Yeshiva University’s undergraduate, graduate and professional schools and affiliates, the Center will serve as an impactful and essential focus of research, education, teacher training and public programming around Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Dr. Selma Botman, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said, “We thank Emil Fish for recognizing our celebrated faculty and our highly experienced staff and for partnering with our entire academic community on this significant and timely initiative.”