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ODU Gets New History Courses from Holocaust Museum Connection

Annette Finley-Croswhite

The summer studies relationship that Annette Finley-Croswhite, professor of history at Old Dominion University, has forged with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., has resulted in some important new courses being offered by the university's Department of History.

Finley-Croswhite is a specialist in French history and the co-author of "Murder in the Métro: Laetitia Toureaux and the Cagoule in 1930s France" (LSU, 2010, 2012), which exposed a fascist underworld in pre-World War II France.

The book led to her receiving a Silberman Teaching Grant that allowed her to spend last summer working with the Holocaust Museum's Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies. This summer she was granted a Silberman Follow-up Award at the center. The product of the two summers' work are new history courses at ODU and an upcoming study abroad program that focus on the Holocaust.

Her teaching grant and fellowship have allowed her to prepare two new courses. During the spring 2012 semester she taught Vichy and the French Holocaust/Shoah and this fall she will teach Holocaust and Film. In addition, she will lead a study abroad course in spring 2013 titled Paris/Auschwitz.

"No Holocaust courses have ever been offered by the Department of History at ODU, so this grant and fellowship have allowed us to broaden our curriculum in history with these important courses," Finley-Croswhite said.

"My time at the museum has allowed me to collect materials for use in my teaching, and pursue applicable related research interests. I have full access to the museum's rich research resources - the library, archives, memoir collection, photo archives, oral testimony collection, film and video archive, Holocaust survivor database, etc. - as well as the opportunity to consult, interact and work with museum staff and visiting scholars on issues relating to both teaching and research."

This summer, she is also writing a scholarly article, "Synagogues on the Streets of Paris: October 2-3, 1941, and the French mini-'Kristallnacht.'"

"This is about the bombing of seven Paris synagogues by right-wing French extremists and the Jewish reaction to, and memory of, these events," she said.

Finley-Croswhite's major research project currently is aimed at producing a new book related to her last one. "While writing 'Murder in the Métro,' I began to focus on a group of right-wing extremists who were also anti-Semites. I'm currently writing a new book with co-author Gayle K. Brunelle that follows this group of terrorists into World War II." The title of the new work will be "Vengeance: Vichy and the Assassination of Marx Dormoy."

The ODU professor will summarize her work in a presentation at the Center for Advanced Holocaust studies on Aug. 6 and will finish the fellowship program Aug. 10.

"Being a Silberman Scholar is such an incredible privilege," Finley-Croswhite said. "The Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies is a fantastically stimulating place for a scholar to work, and in this case, the benefits for Old Dominion students will be immediate. It is extremely important to engage our students in the study of the Holocaust and the lessons history teaches about the horrific ramifications of racism and the obligation of responsible citizenship in our world."

This article was posted on: July 31, 2012

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