Associate professor to present Holocaust research

Harriet Cohen, an associate professor of social work, will present her research on Holocaust survivors Thursday as part of the Dallas Holocaust Museum’s 12-part series of programs and seminars, “Holocaust Legacies: Shoah as Turning Point.”

The university is co-sponsoring the series along with Southern Methodist University and the University of Dallas.

Cohen said her research focused on Holocaust survivors who used memory as a way to survive. The presentation, titled “Holocaust Survivors: Stories of Resilience,” will show at SMU at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

Elliott Dlin, executive director of the Dallas Holocaust Museum, said the presentation is the 10th event in the museum’s series to commemorate the 70th anniversary of World War II.

Out of 133 survivor interviews conducted between 2007 and 2008, Cohen said she examined 40 and studied how survivors talked about their memories. The most difficult things for survivors to forget are memories of loss, violence and survival, she said.

“What we come to understand is that their ability to rebuild their lives demonstrates that memory enabled them to remember their past, to share their stories with others (and) to remember that they survived,” she said.

Cohen said she hopes this research helps the current generation prepare and respond to traumatic events like 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the Virginia Tech shooting.

“We have to choose to go on and to remember the past but also to have hope for the future,” Cohen said.