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Daughter of Holocaust survivor speaks at USF

TAMPA, Fla. -- The daughter of a death camp survivor Avital “Tali” Nates of South Africa visited the University of South Florida on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, and lectured on the topic of “Holocaust and Genocide Education in Post-Apartheid South Africa.”

Nates serves as the director of the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre in South Africa. Nates’ father and uncle were both Holocaust survivors; their names were included on Oskar Schindler’s famous list, which inspired Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning film “Schindler’s List.”

Nates spent the hour talking about the Holocaust, genocide in Rwanda and other parts of Africa and about connections when studying those historic events. Nates also discussed Apartheid in South Africa, referring to herself as a “witness to history.”

In South Africa, students are taught about the Holocaust in grades 9 and 11. After learning about the Holocaust, the students are then taught about Apartheid because to learn about the latter, you first need to know the former and understand the connections between the two.

“Teaching about the Holocaust and genocide in South Africa is difficult,” Nates said. “How do you teach about atrocities and pain in a country that is suffering atrocities and pain?”

Nates has lectured throughout the world about Holocaust education, genocide prevention, reconciliation and human rights. She has participated in Holocaust education missions to Eastern Europe, as well as educational missions in South Africa and Rwanda. She was chosen as one of the top 100 newsworthy and notable women in South Africa in 2010.

USF Professor Edward Kissi invited Nates to come lecture after they met at a UNESCO conference earlier in the year.

“You meet some of the most extraordinary people when you work in the field of educating the world about the horrors of genocide,” Kissi said. “She is very knowledgeable and doing great work.”

Kissi was among policymakers and educators representing 14 nations who gathered to begin the process of developing practical ways to prevent genocide through education. When Kissi found out Nates was coming to the United States, he discussed extending an invitation and Nates graciously included USF in her plans.

“I had discussed with her the need for her center and our department to work together on genocide and human rights studies,” Kissi said. “Now she will get to witness USF’s global reputation in person and see what outstanding resources our campus has, with Africana Studies offering a certificate program in Genocide and Human Rights, the USF Library’s outstanding Holocaust Studies Center and programs, as well as its remarkable special collections, databases and oral histories."


Filed under:Arts and Sciences     
Author: Barbara Melendez