New institute for holocaust, genocide and memory studies opens

By Staff

Opening of the Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies from Daily Collegian on Vimeo.

Emily Felder/Collegian

An opening ceremony was held last Monday afternoon for the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies, located on 758 North Pleasant St. in Amherst.

On display during the event was the permanent exhibit “A Reason to Remember,” donated by the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. The exhibition tells the story of five families who lived in the village of Roth, Germany during the late 1930s and early 1940s. Images, letters and other memorabilia follow the families from their lives before Nazi regime into the Holocaust.

“A Reason to Remember” serves as a teaching tool, something that is at the foundation of the institute’s purpose, said the institute’s director James E. Young in a press release.

“[The institute] will be a locus for research and teaching on the Holocaust, as well as on the memory and representation of this and other acts of genocide,” said Young.

Two UMass students Kara Shuman and David Appel serve as interns with the institute and were on hand to assist with the opening ceremony.

“It’s great to be an intern, especially here,” said Shuman in a video interview with “You learn the details – every small detail that you wouldn’t even think of – that goes into opening up an institute.”

In addition to the exhibition, the institute’s new home is also a donation. According to the press release, the site was purchased by the local donor and is rented to the institute for $1 a month.

Other donations include monetary funds, 10 oil paintings of the Holocaust and World War II and 700 Holocaust related books.

– Collegian Staff