Professors Rachel Brenner and Teryl Dobbs are presenting papers at the Association for Jewish Studies 52nd Annual Conference as part of the panel Uses and Abuses of Art in Representations of Holocaust Violence.

The panel is on Dec. 15 from 11:30 am-12:45 pm CST, and is one of several selected by AJS to be lived streamed to the public, free of charge, by AJS TV via Facebook Live.

“This is a first for AJS, and Rachel and I are thrilled that our panel was selected,” Professor Dobbs said.

Uses and Abuses of Art in Representations of Holocaust Violence

The adage “when the guns roar, the muses fall silent” does not reflect adequately the reality of the Holocaust violence which was not limited the physical annihilation of the Jewish victims. The scheme of the Final Solution aimed also at the dehumanization of the victims; it intended to destroy the victims’ dignity, beliefs, and identity. Distorted forms of art were called on to disfigure the victims, disparage their cultural heritage, and reaffirm their moral repulsiveness. Such use of art in the process of dehumanization violated not only the victims’ sense of humanity; it violated art itself, stripping it from its humanistic value. This panel shows the diverse role of visual arts, music, and literature in a) the documentation of the abuse, b) the contribution to the process of dehumanization, and c) the production of the story of continuing degradation.

Presentations include “Literary Responses to the Holocaust: The Continuing Polish Hostility toward Jews” by Rachel Feldhay Brenner, “Violated! Jewish Women during the Holocaust in Visual Arts” by Batya Brutin, and “Music as Violence: The Musical Experience of Dachau” by Teryl L Dobbs. Discussant: Michlean Amir, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum