Rokhl Oyerbakh: The Bridge Between Wartime and Postwar Testimony

Top Pick November 4, 2019 New Haven Free 0
Rokhl Oyerbakh (Courtesy photo)
Rokhl Oyerbakh (Courtesy photo)

Rokhl Oyerbakh was a writer, essayist and member of the Oyneg Shabes underground documentation project in the Warsaw Ghetto. As one of the only survivors of Oyneg Shabes, she helped recover the buried documentation after the war before emigrating to Israel.

As a survivor-historian, Oyerbakh’s work to document first-person accounts of victims’ experiences continued after the war as director of Yad Vashem’s Department for the Collection of Witness Testimony. She was responsible for curating survivor testimony for the Eichmann trial, and she played a prominent role as a survivor-advocate in the controversy surrounding Jean-François Steiner’s book “Treblinka.”

These are but a few facets of Oyerbakh’s important contributions to our understanding of the survivor experience and the history of the Holocaust.

All events are open to the public, with no registration necessary.

Conference schedule:

  • 9 a.m.: Coffee
  • 9:20 a.m.: Introduction by Stephen Naron, Director, Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies
  • 9:30-10:30 a.m.: Keynote by Samuel Kassow, Charles H. Northam Professor of History, Trinity College (Paper: We Fulfilled Our Mission: The Legacy of Rokhl Oyerbakh)
  • 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Panel I: Prewar and Wartime. Panelists:
    • Professor Dr. Efrat Gal-ed, Jewish Studies, Department of Yiddish Culture, Language and Literature, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf (Paper: Il n’y a pas d’amour heureux – Itzik Manger and Rokhl Oyerbakh)
    • Karolina Szymaniak, Assistant Professor at the Department of Jewish Studies, University of Wrocław (Paper: Rokhl Oyerbakh – the Making of a Public Intellectual)
    • David Roskies, Sol and Evelyn Henkind Chair in Yiddish Literature and Culture, Professor of Jewish literature, Jewish Theological Seminary (Paper: Rokhl Auerbach’s Great Lament)
    • Respondent: Dr. Avinoam Patt, Doris and Simon Konover Chair of Judaic Studies, Director, Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, University of Connecticut
  • 12:30-1:30 p.m.: Lunch
  • 1:30-3:30 p.m.: Panel II: Postwar. Panelists:
    • Leora Bilsky, Professor at the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law, Director of the Minerva Center for Human Rights, Tel Aviv University (Paper: Rokhl Oyerbakh and the Eichmann Trial)
    • Dr. Boaz Cohen, Western Galilee College Akko, Shaanan College Haifa (Paper: Here Every Day is Eichmann: Rokhl Oyerbakh and the Early Days of Yad Vashem)
    • Samuel Moyn, Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School and Professor of History at Yale University (Paper: Oyerbakh and the Treblinka Affair (1966))
    • Respondent: Laura Jockusch, Albert Abramson Associate Professor of Holocaust Studies, Brandeis University
  • 3:30 p.m.: Roundtable with Havi Dreifuss, Professor in Jewish History, Tel Aviv University; Glenn Dynner, Chair of Religion Department, Sarah Lawrence College; Dr. Lisa M. Leff, Director of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; Sven-Erik Rose, Associate Professor of German and Comparative Literature, University of California, Davis
  • 4:30 p.m.: Conference closing and reception

If you would like to attend and have any questions, please contact

Sponsored by Fortunoff Video Archive at Yale University Library.

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Fact Sheet
Monday, November 4, 2019, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sterling Memorial Library Lecture Hall
128 Wall St
New Haven, CT 06511

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