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March 2010

Release Date: March 18, 2010ASU Logo

Theatrical Historian of the Holocaust to Speak at ASU

Dr. Al Goldfarb, the president of Western Illinois University (WIU) and a leading authority on the theatre of the Holocaust, will speak April 16 on his life as the son of Holocaust survivors during Angelo State University’s Holocaust Remembrance Week April 12-16.

The lecture will begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 16, in the C.J. Davidson Conference Center located in the Houston Harte University Center at 1910 Rosemont on the ASU campus. Goldfarb’s talk will touch on the horrors of the Holocaust and how they affected not only the survivors but also their offspring in the next generation. In addition to his free public lecture, Goldfarb will speak to ASU history and drama classes, then meet with Honors students and students planning to study abroad in Germany.

As the child of Holocaust survivors, Goldfarb could not escape the impact of their experiences on his own life, including the loss of both family roots and a personal connection to that heritage. His grandparents and other family members were killed or died while in hiding or in concentration camps. Though his parents escaped with their lives, they entered the post-war era with almost their entire immediate family lost to the Holocaust and with no possessions.

The experience also shaped his academic career when he chose to study the history of theatre with a specialty on the role and impact of theatre in the Holocaust. His book, “Theatrical Performance during the Holocaust,” co-edited with Rebecca Rovit, was a finalist for the 1999 National Jewish Book Award. Even as president of Western Illinois University, he continues to do research and teach a course on the Holocaust. He has also published on the representation of the Holocaust in post-war drama and theatre. He and Ed Wilson, the retired theatre critic of The Wall Street Journal, have co-authored two widely adopted theatre textbooks.

Goldfarb was appointed the 10th president of WIU in 2002. He holds his bachelor’s degree from Queens College of City University of New York (CUNY), where he majored in theatre and mass communications. He earned a master’s degree in theatre and cinema from CUNY’s Hunter College. He completed his Ph.D. at CUNY, writing his thesis on “Theatre and Drama and the Nazi Concentration Camps.”

The programs for Holocaust Remembrance Week have become some of the most dramatic and well attended lectures on campus over the last three years. In addition to Dr. Goldfarb’s talk, other ASU Holocaust-related activities will include the April 1-19 photo exhibit “Lives Remembered” about the Jewish inhabitants of Szczuczyn, Poland, lost during the Holocaust and a showing at 6 p.m. April 14 of the 1993 Oscar-winning movie “Schindler’s List.”