Lecture at Berea College will Explore the Nuremburg Trials and Human Rights after the Holocaust


Dr. Devin Pendas, Associate Professor of History at Boston College, will deliver a lecture titled “The Nuremberg Trials and the Fate of Human Rights after the Holocaust” at Berea College on Monday, April 11 at 7:00 pm. The presentation is free and open to the public and will be held in room 218 of the Frost Building.

“We’re delighted to welcome Professor Pendas as our first Alice Umans Abramson speaker,” said Steve Gowler, an Associate Professor at Berea College. “Dr. Pendas is a widely recognized and prolific scholar on issues of justice, genocide and human rights.  His work is inescapably interdisciplinary, drawing upon history, politics, law, international relations and ethics. Those trials immediately became, and continue to be, a touchstone in the development of contemporary understandings of human rights.  Dr. Pendas will challenge us to think again and in more complex ways about their significance.”

The Nuremberg Trials are often seen as both the first and most important attempt to prosecute Nazi crimes, and as one of the founding moments of the modern human rights movement. The reality was more complicated. Dr. Pendas will shed light on the myths of Nuremberg and explain the more subtle and complex history of human rights after 1945. 

This program is sponsored by Berea College’s Alice Umans Abramson Fund, Foreign Languages Program, History Program and Dean’s Office.  The Campus Outreach Lecture Program of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, supported by the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund, are also making the lecture possible.

The Alice Umans Abramson Fund at Berea College supports programming that increases awareness and understanding of issues related to anti-Semitism. Reflecting on the many paths her life has taken, Abramson, a 1950 graduate of Berea College, credits the College with nurturing her desire to understand and contribute to a complex world. Abramson’s financial support is making it possible for others to benefit from the distinctive educational opportunities that Berea offers to students with limited financial resources.  

Dr. Pendas is also a faculty affiliate and co-chair of the German Study Group at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University. He has received research fellowships from the German Academic Exchange Service, the MacArthur Foundation, the Center for Contemporary Historical Research in Potsdam, Germany, and the American Council of Learned Societies (Burkhardt Fellowship).He is also the former Judith B. and Burton P. Resnick Postdoctoral Fellow in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies. While in residence at the Center, he studied the Nazi trials that took place in the German courts of the four occupation zones in the late 1940s. Pendas is currently working on two projects: a history of Nazi trials in German courts in all occupation zones from 1945 to 1950, to be published by Cambridge University Press; and a synthetic history of law and mass violence in the modern period.  

The Campus Outreach Lecture Program of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies was established to provide college and university communities with a better understanding of the history, lessons and contemporary relevance of the Holocaust. Speakers are drawn from the Center’s staff and visiting fellows from around the world and are an invaluable resource for colleges and universities seeking to enhance Holocaust education and for communities concerned about the ongoing danger of discrimination, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. For more information, contact Kierra Crago-Schneider at kcrago-schneider@ushmm.org.

A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to promote human dignity, confront hatred and prevent genocide. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by the generosity of donors nationwide. For more information, visit www.ushmm.org.

Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Foreign Languages Department, History, History Department, Human rights, Nuremburg Trials

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 41 states and 76 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.