Southeast Professor Completes Summer Fellowship Focused on Holocaust Research

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Sept. 21, 2007 – Dr. Mitch Gerber, professor of political science at Southeast Missouri State University, spent the past summer engaged in scholarly research at the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Gerber’s work was the result of him being awarded the Starkoff Fellowship for the 2006-2007 academic year, given by the Fellowship Committee of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives. His research project was entitled, “The Reconstruction of Political Ethics and Political Philosophy Post-Holocaust through a Theory of Moral Agency, Human Rights and Genocide.”  His research, he says, focuses on the profound impact of the Shoah — the Holocaust — upon Western political philosophy.

In particular, Gerber said he studied the archival holdings of Raphael Lemkin including letters of correspondence, original manuscripts, notes, speeches and lectures. The Jacob Rader Marcus Center is a major scholarly repository of the “Raphael Lemkin Papers” (Manuscript Collection No. 60). Lemkin is considered the “Founder of the World Movement to Outlaw Genocide,” Gerber said.

“I think the AJA’s collection, particularly of the works of Raphael Lemkin among others, will facilitate my research project,” Gerber says. “I consider myself very fortunate and humbled to have examined and held in my hands the actual manuscripts typed and handwritten by Lemkin, who is the architectural genius of not only the term genocide, but of the UN’s Genocide Convention.”

Gerber examined the correspondence between Lemkin and a variety of esteemed world leaders, diplomats, congresspersons, senators, and academic and cultural figures such as Eleanor Roosevelt; Trygve Lie, first Secretary-General of the United Nations; John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State; Chet Huntley, broadcast journalist and co-anchor of the Huntley-Brinkley Report of NBC-News; and Pearl S. Buck, author and social activists.

In June, Gerber presented a fellowship seminar based on his research.