Ackerman Chronicle

June 10, 2020 | Issue 32

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Navigating New Realities

Dr. Sarah Valente, a visiting assistant professor at UT Dallas, looked for new ways to create a sense of closeness for the Ackerman Center community. She wanted to “continue our presence and engagement with our community, while we pivoted to this new online reality.” The idea came when she started listening to more podcasts during the spring break when we all started to adjust to the new reality of social distancing in our lives. “Why not have our very own Ackerman Center podcast?" With Ackerman Center director Dr. Nils Roemer's approval and participation, Dr. Valente launched the podcast’s first episode two weeks later.


For Dr. Roemer, “the new podcast was a very exciting opportunity to engage our friends in conversation. I am a big believer in looking for new opportunities whatever they are.”


Dr. Valente is pleased with the podcast experience: “It’s been a fantastic constant learning opportunity not only to learn how to record podcasts, edit audio tracks, create social media content, and manage our online presence, but to discover new audiences who are interested in hearing about the Ackerman Center and to follow our discussions about Holocaust-related topics.”


The Ackerman Center Podcast just passed a milestone of 150 listeners this last week. Dr. Roemer and Dr. Valente look forward to continuing the podcast and to use this platform to connect and engage with students, friends of the Ackerman Center community, and beyond.

World on Fire

The podcast’s first seven episodes are structured in two parts: the first segment focuses on current Ackerman Center activities, events, and sharing of teaching experiences during social distancing; the second segment focuses on a single episode of the PBS series World on Fire. Since there were seven episodes in the series, each podcast episode follows one episode of the series.


The podcast episodes focus on historical considerations, moral dilemmas, rapid changes as the war advances, the significance of the Battle of Dunkirk, and the Nazi occupation of Paris.

What's Next

“New Connections” is a new series where Dr. Valente and Dr. Roemer (virtually) meet with directors of Holocaust centers and museums around the world to learn about their work. The first guest was the director of the JFCS Holocaust Center in San Francisco Morgan Blum Schneider, featured in episode 8.


As the podcast was created with the intention of being a platform of communication, reflection, and connection between our community, the professors dedicated the latest episode to discussing Civil Rights Jewish leader Joachim Prinz and his work alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. to fight for justice and equality in the U.S.


Coming up later this summer will be the “Portraits of World War II” series, which will feature special UTD professors whose lives were personally affected by the war. We are happy to announce our first guest will be Dr. Rainer Schulte, the Katherine R. Cecil Professor in Foreign Languages and director of the Center for Translation Studies.

All Episodes Available Here

Stay tuned for new episodes on Sundays at 10am.

Follow us on Instagram

To help grow the podcast’s visibility online, Dr. Valente created the Instagram page @holocaustpodcast, which has garnered the attention of British actress Julia Brown, who played Louis Bennett in World on Fire, and Holocaust centers around the world like The Wiener Holocaust Library in the UK, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art at Berkeley, and the Center for Jewish History in New York. It was through the Instagram page that the Jewish Family and Children’s Services Holocaust Center in San Francisco found the podcast and reached out to participate, leading to a new series in our podcast.

Save the Date: "Operation Barbarossa and the Holocaust”

Monday, June 22nd, 4pm

This is an online event.

This lecture will be presented by Dr. Nils Roemer, Stan and Barbara Rabin Professor of Holocaust Studies, virtually via WebEx.

Check the Ackerman Center Events webpage for more details, including the link to join the event.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Contact Us

Our faculty, staff, and students

Help Us to Succeed

Fulfilling our mission is made possible because of the generosity of our supporters like you.

This issue was made possible by the following contributors:

Cynthia Seton-Rogers, Academic and Outreach Events Manager
Dr. Sarah R. Valente, Visiting Assistant Professor