News and Events

 Danielson Book Signing


September 30 - November 14, 2014

Bedzin Ghetto Photo

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.


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

Book Danielson 

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 radicalism.”



NAU History Undergrads do Research at Holocaust Memorial Museum

new photos 

June 2013

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 computer screens.

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 people.

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 the Holocaust.

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 Teacher of the Year

 Ana Varela Lago: Recipient of the 2013 College of Arts and Letters Teacher of the Year Award!!!




AZ Teacher of the Year 2013 Nancie Lindblom 170x120

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."