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Professional Learning

Legacies of the Holocaust: Building a More Humane World with Dr. Wendy Lower and Dr. Karen Murphy

Dr. Wendy Lower discusses her latest book The Ravine: A Family, a Photograph, a Holocaust Massacre Revealed with Dr. Karen Murphy, the Director of International Strategy for Facing History and Ourselves.


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Single Session

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The Holocaust

This material is not recommended for use with students younger than age 14, due to its graphic content.

Watch the keynote conversation at our eighth annual Rachel Shankman Symposium, featuring Dr. Wendy Lower, historian and scholar of the Holocaust and World War II, and Dr. Karen Murphy, the Director of International Strategy for Facing History and Ourselves.

Dr. Lower’s latest book, The Ravine: A Family, a Photograph, a Holocaust Massacre Revealed, investigates a single photograph—a rare “action shot” documenting the horrific final moment of a family’s murder. Through years of forensic and archival detective work, Lower sought to uncover the identities of the photographed and in the process recovered new details about the Nazis’ open-air massacres in eastern Europe and the role of the family unit in Nazi ideology. Dr. Lower discusses the book and her research, followed by a brief Q&A.

Now in its eighth year, the Rachel Shankman Symposium is named for the founding director of Facing History and Ourselves in Memphis and is a tribute to her legacy to create a more inclusive and humane world. This event convened teachers of our Holocaust and Human Behavior Elective and Facing History Middle School Exploratory Courses, engaging them in professional development sessions designed to deepen their learning and enhance their pedagogical approach to teaching about the Holocaust.

This event is presented by the Southeast region of Facing History and Ourselves with generous support from the Plough Foundation and the Memphis Jewish Federation.

Wendy Lower, Ph.D. is the John K. Roth Professor of History and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College. Lower chairs the Academic Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and served as Acting Director of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the USHMM (2016-2018).

Dr. Lower is the author of Nazi Empire-Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine (2005), The Diary of Samuel Golfard and the Holocaust in Galicia (2011); and co-editor (with Ray Brandon) of Shoah in Ukraine: History, Testimony, Memorialization (2008). Her book, Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields (2013) was a finalist for the National Book Award and has been translated into 23 languages. Her latest book, The Ravine: A Family, A Photograph, A Holocaust Massacre Revealed, was published in February 2021 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Karen L. Murphy, Ph.D. is the Director of International Strategy for Facing History and Ourselves. Murphy manages Facing History’s work and the development of partnerships in countries outside the United States and Canada. She is also part of Facing History's senior program and thought leadership teams. She has a special interest in countries emerging from mass violence and/or in transition to democracy and divided societies with identity based conflicts. She has researched, written about, and worked on the ground in several countries, including Bosnia, Colombia, Mexico, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, France, the United States, and South Africa. Murphy has also published journal articles, presented papers, and lectured on the often-neglected role of education in transitional justice processes.

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