Seton Hill Hosts Lecture by Polish Journalist and Author Anna Bikont Feb. 26

What: Seton Hill University will host a guest lecture by Polish journalist and author Anna Bikont titled, “Jedwabne: The Story of a Small Town in Poland Where the Poles Killed their Jewish Neighbors.” The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by the Seton Hill University National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education through its Eva Fleischner, Ph.D., Endowed Lecture Fund and Classrooms Without Borders.

When: Monday, February 26, 2018, 7 p.m.

Where:  Administration Building Room 206, Seton Hill University’s hilltop campus, Greensburg, Pa.

Background: Anna Bikont’s book, "The Crime and the Silence: Confronting the Massacre of Jews in Wartime Jedwabne," is a monumental work of nonfiction on a wartime atrocity, its sixty-year denial, and the impact of its truth. The book examines the events in the small Polish town of Jedwabne on July 10, 1941, when the citizens rounded up the Jewish population and burned them alive in a barn. The massacre was a shocking secret that had been suppressed for more than sixty years, and it provoked the most important public debate in Poland since 1989. From the outset, Anna Bikont reported on the town, combing through archives and interviewing residents who survived the war period. Part history, part memoir, “The Crime and the Silence” is the journalist's account of these events: both the story of the massacre told through oral histories of survivors and witnesses, and a portrait of a Polish town coming to terms with its dark past. Anna Bikont is a non-fiction writer and journalist for Gazeta Wyborcza, the main newspaper in Poland which she helped found in 1989. In 2011 she received the European Book Prize for the French version of her book "My z Jedwabnego". In 2015 the English version, The Crime and the Silence was selected in the 100 Notable Books of the Year by New York Times and won one of the National Jewish Book Awards.

The National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education (NCCHE) was established on the campus of Seton Hill University in 1987. Seton Hill initiated this national Catholic movement toward Holocaust studies in response to the urging of Pope John Paul II to recognize the significance of the Shoah, the Holocaust, and to “promote the necessary historical and religious studies on this event which concerns the whole of humanity today.”   The NCCHE has as its primary purpose the broad dissemination of scholarship on the root causes of anti-Semitism, its relation to the Holocaust and the implications from the Catholic perspective of both for today's world. Toward this end the Center is committed to equipping scholars, especially those at Catholic institutions, to enter into serious discussion on the causes of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust; shaping appropriate curricular responses at Catholic institutions and other educational sites; sustaining Seton Hill's Catholic Institute for Holocaust Studies in Israel through a cooperative program with Yad Vashem and the Isaac Jacob Institute for Religious Law; encouraging scholarship and research through conferences, publications, workshops for educators, and similar activities; sponsoring local events on the Holocaust and related topics in the University and the community and enhancing Catholic-Jewish relations.

Classrooms Without Borders (CWB) is a non-profit educational organization founded in February 2011 by Dr. Zipora Gur in association with the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. CWB envisions itself as the premier provider of experiential, extended term professional development for teachers in the metropolitan Pittsburgh region.  CWB offers unique travel experiences enriched with rigorous content, scholarly readings and direct application to classroom instruction. CWB connects teachers and learners through customized professional growth programs that result in positive changes in the way teachers instruct students.