Appalachian State University’s Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies was founded in 2002 to develop new educational opportunities for students, teachers, and the community. Located administratively within the College of Arts and Sciences, the Center seeks to strengthen tolerance, understanding, and remembrance by increasing the knowledge of Jewish culture and history, teaching the history and meaning of the Holocaust, and using these experiences to explore peaceful avenues for human improvement and the prevention of future genocides.


 Honoring Two Women Of Valor

Dr. Zohara Boyd

Born in Piotrkow Trybunalski, Poland, site of the first ghetto established by the Nazis after  the Germany invasion. Zoharra’s family obtained false baptismal certificates and managed to escape to Warsaw shortly before the general deportations to Aushwitz began. She and her parents survived the war by “walking on the Aryan side” as in plain sight was called. Dr. Boyd has a PH.D. in early American literature from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and taught at Appalachian State University from 1977. In 2003, she was named as the co-director of the Center of Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies, a position she held until retirement.

Dr. Miriam Kassenoff

The Summer Symposium is the result of many handmaids and midwives.Another among those figures is Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff. Born in the former Czechoslovakia, her family recognized the need to escape their homeland if they were to survive. She was only four years old when the family began a harrowing eight month trek across Europe to Lisbon, where they boarded a ship bound for the United States in May 1941. Dr. Kassenoff evolved from being a Holocaust target to Holocaust educator. When Rennie Brantz told her of ASU’s efforts to organize a symposium on the Holocaust, she immediately offered to help, and through her own circle of contacts convinced scholars like Michael Berenbaum and Harry Reicher to participate. Her efforts helped to establish an array of professional, scholarly lectures, that form the heart of the Symposium. We wish to thank Dr. Klein Kassenoff for her tireless efforts in the early stages of our development.