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Holocaust expert and students to perform play about the man who coined the term "genocide"

  • Photo of Robert Skloot

Posted on November 03, 2017

Robert Skloot, a noted expert on theater and the Holocaust, will lead a group of Grand Valley students in a staged reading of his play, "If the Whole Body Dies: Raphael Lemkin and the Treaty against Genocide," — a work about Raphael Lemkin, the man who created the term "genocide" and who was responsible for creating an international treaty against it.

"I believe Lemkin was one of the great citizens of the world in the 20th century because his visionary efforts truly changed the way the subject of genocide — a word he coined in 1944 — will always be known and understood," said Skloot. "Lemkin accomplished something both unprecedented and radical: to create a mechanism – the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide – whereby the victims of genocide could be known and acknowledged and the perpetrators of genocide brought to justice.”

The one-act play will be performed by Skloot and Grand Valley students on November 8 at 3 p.m. in the Mary Idema Pew Library Multipurpose Room. An audience discussion will follow the play. This event is free and open to the public.

Skloot is an emeritus professor of theater and drama at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the author of four books and numerous articles on the theater of the Holocaust. In addition to receiving multiple awards throughout his career for teaching and research, and directing more than 40 plays at the University of Wisconsin, Skloot has served as a Fulbright professor in Israel, Austria, Chile and The Netherlands. 

This event is sponsored by the Joseph Stevens Freedom Endowment. Established in 1990 to honor its namesake, who shared with Grand Valley his experiences during World War II, the endowment funds lectures to promote the understanding of issues related to human freedom, including the history and consequences of the Holocaust. 

For more information, contact Rob Franciosi, professor of English and event coordinator, at francior@gvsu.edu.