Start of Main Content

2023 Curt C. and Else Silberman Faculty Seminar

Dr. Michael Siegel, a respected Jewish attorney from Munich, is forced to march barefoot through the streets with a sign around his neck that reads, "I will never again complain to the police." —Bundesarchiv

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Teaching about Holocaust Violence

June 5–9, 2023 (in person) June 12–15, 2023 (virtual)

The 2023 Silberman Seminar will focus on the topic of teaching Holocaust violence in the college classroom by utilizing approaches from the fields of social sciences, history, literary analysis, oral history, film, and music studies. The Seminar will consider how to effectively address the magnitude and scope of the mass violence that occurred in the lead-up to and during the Holocaust, while simultaneously emphasizing personal experiences of violence and trauma. In discussing the causes and consequences of violence, we will foreground testimonies, diaries, music, literature, and oral histories to shed light on the intimate side of the Holocaust through personal narrative. Particular focus will be placed on the roles of race, ethnicity, and gender, as well as the relationship between teaching antisemitism and the Holocaust. 

The 2023 Silberman Seminar is designed to help faculty, instructors, and advanced PhD candidates who are currently teaching or preparing to teach courses that focus on or have a curricular component relating to the Holocaust, genocide, violence, antisemitism, and trauma. Applications are welcome from instructors across academic disciplines including but not limited to Anthropology; Archeology; Art; Disability Studies; Film Studies; German Studies; History; Holocaust and Genocide Studies; Jewish Studies; Law and Human Rights; Music; Philosophy and Religious Studies; Political Science and International Relations; Psychology; Sociology; Women’s and Gender Studies; and Trauma and Memory Studies. The Seminar aims to deepen, broaden, and enrich how we approach teaching Holocaust and genocidal violence across these diverse disciplines and fields.

Seminar Facilitators

Jeffrey Kopstein, Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine

Jeffrey Kopstein’s Holocaust-related publications (authored, co-authored, and edited books) include Intimate Violence: Anti-Jewish Pogroms on the Eve of the Holocaust (Cornell UP, 2018), Politics, Violence, Memory: The New Social Science of the Holocaust (Cornell University Press 2023), and The Politics of Economic Decline in East Germany 1945-1989 (University of North Carolina Press, 1997), as well as over fifty peer-reviewed articles on European and Jewish history.  His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the US Department of Defense. Professor Kopstein was the 2021-2022 Ina Levine Invitational Scholar at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  He is currently working on a book tentatively entitled, Three Pogroms: Anti-Jewish Violence from Antiquity to Modernity.

Anna Shternshis, Al and Malka Green Professor of Yiddish Studies and the Director of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto

Anna Shternshis is the author of Soviet and Kosher: Jewish Popular Culture in the Soviet Union (Indiana UP, 2006), When Sonia Met Boris: An Oral History of Jewish Life under Stalin (Oxford UP, 2017), and co-author of Jews in the Soviet Union: a History: War, Conquest and Catastrophe, 1939-45 (New York UP, 2022). Together with artist Psoy Korolenko, Shternshis created and directed the Grammy-nominated Yiddish Glory project, an initiative that brought back to life forgotten Yiddish music written during the Holocaust in the Soviet Union. A recipient of 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship, she is currently working on a book tentatively entitled Last Yiddish Heroes: A Lost and Found Archive of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union about Yiddish music created in Nazi-occupied Ukraine.

Seminar Format

The Seminar will include a combination of in-person and virtual sessions over the course of two weeks. The Seminar will convene in-person at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum from June 5–9, 2023. The Seminar will convene virtually for no more than four hours per day from June 12–15, 2023. Participants must commit to attending the entire Seminar.

Additional daily asynchronous activities will include independent readings, pre-recorded lectures, and syllabus design work in small groups. All assigned readings and course materials will be made available to participants in advance of the program through the Seminar’s digital platform.

Application Details

Seminar applicants can be at any career stage but must be teaching or anticipate teaching relevant courses at accredited institutions in North America, including colleges, universities, and community colleges. Applications must include: (1) curriculum vitae; (2) a 1-2 page statement of the candidate’s interest in strengthening their background in teaching about Holocaust violence; and (3) a draft syllabus with content relating to the Seminar topic that the candidate has taught or anticipates teaching.

The Seminar aims to convene scholars from various career levels, disciplines, regional locations, academic institutions, and backgrounds. In your statement of interest, please specifically address:

  • How the Seminar will augment or impact the course(s) you anticipate teaching;

  • How the Seminar would help to meet your institution's needs and/or expand your institution’s curricular offerings;

  • How your own perspective, experiences, and/or disciplinary approach will enhance the Seminar discussions.

After the conclusion of the Seminar, participants are expected to submit a preliminary version of a revised syllabus. The Seminar will include designated working sessions for participants to revise and expand their syllabi content.

Travel and Lodging

For non-local participants, the Mandel Center will cover the cost of (1) direct travel to and from the participant’s home institution and Washington, DC, and (2) lodging for the duration of the Seminar. All participants will be provided $250 to defray the cost of meals and incidentals.

COVID-19 Safety Measures

The health and safety of Museum guests and staff are always the Museum's top priority. The Museum takes all reasonable safety precautions but cannot guarantee the safety of any participant. Participants acknowledge that their risk of COVID-19 exposure may increase by participating in the program or by engaging in any other travel. By participating in the program, you voluntarily assume all risks related to COVID-19 exposure and release the Museum from any associated liability.

Per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Museum encourages all participants to stay up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations. The Museum’s safety measures are based on CDC COVID-19 Community Levels and will be adjusted to reflect any changes in the level. Prior to the program, the Museum will provide updates regarding the latest guidelines related to health and safety protocols. Participants agree to abide by all health and safety protocols required by the United States, the Museum, and/or the local jurisdiction rules applicable to the program.


Applications must be received in electronic form no later than March 15, 2023. The application form is available online. Questions may be directed to Dr. Katharine White at

Admission will be determined without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender (sexual orientation or gender identity), national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or reprisal. The Museum also prohibits any form of workplace discrimination or harassment.

The Curt C. and Else Silberman Foundation endowed the Silberman Seminar for University Faculty in memory of Curt C. and Else Silberman.  The Foundation supports programs in higher education that promote, protect, and strengthen Jewish values in democracy, human rights, ethical leadership, and cultural pluralism.