News and Events
EVENT: THROUGH THE EYES OF YOUTH
September 30 - November 14, 2014
Two girls in Będzin ghetto
Source: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Arnold Shay (Abram Szyjowicz)
Life and Death in the Będzin Ghetto
This is the story of young people in Będzin before, during, and after the Holocaust. Only a few survived.
This exhibit is made possible through the Martin-Springer Institute at
Northern Arizona University under the directorship of Dr. Björn Krondorfer. The Martin-Springer Institute was founded in 2000 by Doris and Ralph
Martin. Doris—born Dora Szpringer—grew up in Będzin. Miraculously, she and her whole family survived the Holocaust. The Martin-Springer Institute attends to the experiences of the
Holocaust in order to relate them to today’s concerns, crises, and conflicts.
Our programs promote the values of moral courage, tolerance, empathy,
reconciliation, and justice. The Institute fosters dialogue on local, national, and international levels.
Web: nau.edu/martin-springer • Facebook.com/MSIatNAU
In 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. German forces occupied the Polish
city of Będzin, changing the lives of Jewish people forever. Forced into a cramped
ghetto, the entire Jewish population was eventually deported to extermination camps. The
youth of Będzin struggled with growing up amid violence, hatred, and loss, while
still trying to find small joys in life.
Dr. Danielson Publishes New Book
Associate Professor of
History Leilah Danielson’s monograph, American Gandhi: A.J. Muste and the
History of Radicalism in the 20th Century, will be
published by University of Pennsylvania Press in September. The book traces the
evolving political and religious views of one of the most beloved figures of
the American left, while also charting the rise and fall of American
progressivism over the course of the twentieth
century. Michael Kazin, historian and editor of Dissent magazine
calls it a “first-rate study” and historian Doug Rossinow describes it as “a
major work in the history of twentieth-century American
NAU History Undergrads do Research at Holocaust Memorial Museum
Librarian Vincent Slatt of the United States Holocaust
Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. recently called a photographer into
the reading room.
"This is how research trips should be done," he said, pointing to a
group from Northern Arizona University hovering over stacks of books and
The Martin-Springer Institute sponsored the group, which is part of a
larger ongoing project at NAU to create a travel exhibit on the Bedzin
ghetto, Poland. In the fall of last year, Director Bjorn Krondorfer,
Program Coordinator Melissa Cohen and professor Martin Kalb framed this
public history project for undergraduate students. Bedzin is the former
home of Holocaust survivor Doris Martin (nee Szpringer), who founded the
institute together with her husband Ralph.
Twelve students from numerous disciplines were accepted into the
project group. Starting in January, the group met once a week to learn
about the Holocaust and the situation in Poland in particular. They
interviewed two Holocaust survivors, Jane Lipski in Tucson and Martin in
Flagstaff. By the end of the spring semester, the focus and scope of
the planned exhibit had come into focus: daily life in the Bedzin ghetto
before, during and after the Holocaust, through the eyes of young
In May, Kalb took four members of the NAU group to Washington, D.C.,
to find documentation on Bedzin for the exhibit. At the archives of the
Center of Advanced Holocaust Studies, Zoe Fry (history) and Gage
Williams (history/museum studies) looked into the photo collection.
Using the photo archive and database helped to gather primary resources
about individuals related to the town and ghetto of Bedzin. Mikayla
Cutlip (interior design) worked on oral testimonies available through
the USC Shoah Foundation. Paisley Green (History/English) delved into
the extensive and often frustrating records of the International Tracing
Service. This database is the most useful resource to trace victims of
Fry said of her experience, "We were allowed to use so many research
tools for the first time. These are materials that people in an
undergraduate position rarely get to utilize."
The group also had a meeting at the Smithsonian. "We had the
opportunity to tour the different stages of exhibit creation, including
design, editing, manufacturing and implementation," said Cutlip.
This fall at NAU, the group will commence work on their own exhibit.
Ana Varela Lago: Recipient of the 2013 College of Arts and Letters Teacher of the Year Award!!!
NAU Department of History's Alumna Nancie Lindblom Honored as Arizona's Teacher of the Year
Northern Arizona University teacher education alumna Nancie Lindblom
received the 2013 Arizona Educational Foundation's Teacher of the Year
award for her dedication to her students and to the teaching of history. Read about her accomplishments in the article "Mesa Educator Honored as Arizona's Teacher of the Year."