Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Cohen-Lasry House at sunrise

A Brief History of the Strassler Center

The Strassler Center celebrated its first decade at the forefront of education and training of Holocaust and genocide scholars in the academic year 2008-2009. Doctoral students entered in 1998 and five years later Clark University granted the first Ph.D. degrees (anywhere in the world) specifically in Holocaust history. From that initial class of three students, the Center has developed a robust doctoral program in Holocaust History and Genocide Studies to which admission is highly competitive and draws upon a superior and broadly international applicant pool. A growing number of faculty members mentor graduate students in a range of disciplines and across departmental divides. These doctoral candidates are the future professionals who will oversee the many institutions of remembrance and scholarship. They will continue to educate the public after the last survivors are gone, they will advance the frontiers of knowledge and scholarship, and they will provide well-researched and intelligent answers to deniers of the Holocaust and of other genocides.

Its landmark doctoral program is just one manifestation of the Center's innovative character. Since its inception, the Strassler Center initiated a unique undergraduate program in Holocaust and Genocide Studies (HGS); renovated a building to house the Center which won 6 architectural awards; purchased a core research library that has grown to around 9,000 volumes; has run an outreach lecture series free and open to the public; and has participated in important public service projects and debates. The undergraduate HGS program offers a rich course of study across a multiplicity of departments.  As genocidal situations continue to unfold, the need for educated analysis intensifies.