About the Center for Holocaust and Jewish Studies

Center for Holocaust and Jewish Studies

What is the mission of the Center for Holocaust and Jewish Studies? The Center works to bring people from the Central Pennsylvania region and the university together in a common interest of remembering and teaching the Holocaust and Jewish Studies. The primary mission is: (1) provide educational opportunities for teachers and students on the Holocaust and Jewish Studies, and (2) organize activities in these areas reaching out to the community and public.

What Does It Do? Besides being an inviting physical space providing research materials in print and other media in the Penn State Harrisburg Library, it is actively involved in outreach programming such as public performances of music, drama, and dance; screenings of films along with discussions by their makers; and lectures and book talks with nationally recognized writers and researchers on the Holocaust and Jewish Studies. It is a research and teaching space for faculty, community members, and students, and also a creative space where the public can visit to be informed and inspired by music, literature, and art. As the name implies, it centers many activities in the university and regional communities in a single visible place. A staff drawn from the faculty is directly responsible for its operation.

Why at Penn State Harrisburg? Courses and special events devoted to the Holocaust and Jewish Studies have long been important offerings at Penn State Harrisburg, and the creation of the center in 2007 served to coordinate all these efforts in a single location. The college working in conjunction with the Holocaust Resource Center in the Jewish community of Greater Harrisburg, has oral history tapes and documents collected from survivors and liberators in the region. These materials are not duplicated in any other institutions or media, and provide a resource for researchers, community members, students, and faculty. The center is therefore distinguished by its unique holdings and at the same time linked to international efforts to memorialize and study the Holocaust. Penn State Harrisburg provides leadership in the region in teacher education, study abroad, and community outreach. With the Holocaust and Genocide Book Collection in the library as an important resource and other existing centers as models of accomplishment, Penn State Harrisburg is committed to extending this leadership in the area of Holocaust studies. Its state-of-the-art library completed in 2000 is an ideal location for creating a space dedicated to exhibit, discuss, and present Holocaust material.