Speaker Biographies

Dr. Michael Berenbaum

Michael Berenbaum is a writer, lecturer, and teacher consulting in the conceptual development of museums and the content and conceptual development of historical films. He is director of the Sigi Ziering Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust and an [adjunct] Professor of Theology at the University of Judaism.
Berenbaum was the Executive Editor of the New Encyclopaedia Judaica, a second edition of the monumental 1972 work that now consists of 22 volumes. For three years, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. Then he served as the Director of the United States Holocaust Research Institute at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and from 1988–93, he served as Project Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, overseeing its creation. Berenbaum is the author and editor of sixteen books, scores of scholarly articles, and hundreds of journalistic pieces. His most recent books include: A Promise to Remember: The Holocaust in the Words and Voices of Its Survivors and After the Passion Has Passed: American Religious Consequences, a collection of essays on Jews, Judaism and Christianity, Relgious Tolerance and Pluralism occasioned by the controversy that swirled around Mel Gibson’s film, “The Passion.”

Dr. Zohara Boyd

Dr. Zohara Boyd was born in Piotrkow Trybunalski, Poland, April 17, 1942.  Piotrkow was the first ghetto established by the Nazis after Germany invaded Poland.  Zohara Boyd's father obtained false bapltismal certificates and managed to escape to Warsaw shortly before the general deportations to Ausschwitz began.  She and her parents survived the war by "walking on the Aryan side" as hiding in plain sight was called.  Dr. Boyd has a Ph.D. in Early American Literture from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and taught at Appalachian State University from 1977 to 2010.  In 2003 she was named Co-Director of the Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies.

Dr. Rennie Brantz

Dr. Rennie Brantz graduated from Doane College in 1964, earned a Ph.D. in History from The Ohio State University in 1973, and studied at the Universities of Munich and Bonn. He began teaching German history at Appalachian State University in 1973, where he was promoted to the rank of Professor in 1989. He directed Appalachian’s Freshman Seminar program from 1990 to 2004 while continuing to teach history. His teaching and research focus since 1995 has been Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Brantz has held the I.G. Greer Professorship in History, received grants from the German Government (DAAD), National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Fulbright Commission. In 1997, he was named Outstanding Freshman Advocate by the National Resource Center for the Freshman Year Experience, and in 2002 he received the University of North Carolina's Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. From 2003 to 2013 he served as Co-Director of the Office of Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies. Brantz is also in his second four-year term on the Boone Town Council.

Dr. John Cox

John Cox is an associate professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. For the last five years he served as director of the Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Human Rights Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University. Dr. Cox’s first book, Circles of Resistance: Jewish, Leftist, and Youth Dissidence in Nazi Germany, was published in 2009, and he is currently completing To Kill a People: Genocide in the Twentieth Century (Pearson Prentice Hall, 2012). Dr. Cox has written additional essays, articles, and book reviews on a variety of historical and political topics for both scholarly and popular periodicals and has lectured widely on Jewish resistance. He is also a founding member of the editorial board of a new journal, the Journal of Jewish Identities. John earned his M.A. at Brandeis in 1998 and completed his doctorate at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2005. He is a graduate of Appalachian State, where he earned his B.A. in history in 1986. 

Lee Holder

Lee Holder is the teacher-in-residence at this year’s symposium. He is a social studies teacher, as well as the department head at North Lenoir High School, LaGrange, North Carolina. He has been a member of the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust since 2000. Lee has extensive experience in Holocaust education and has attended numerous workshops sponsored by the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust. In addition, he has given presentations at the North Carolina Council on the Social Studies State Conference, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Belfer Conference, and the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching. Last year, he participated in a ten day Holocaust educational trip to Germany and Poland. Currently, he is enrolled in an on-line Holocaust education course offered by the Facing History program.

Dr. Rosemary Horowitz

Rosemary Horowitz is a professor of English at Appalachian State University. Her research interests are in Jewish literacy and literature. In addition to numerous articles and chapters, she has published The Memorial Books of Eastern European Jewry, Elie Wiesel and the Art of Storytelling, and Literacy and Cultural Transmission in the Reading, Writing, and Rewriting of Yisker Books. A new collection, The Legacy of Yiddish Women Writers, is forthcoming.

Kathy Kacer

Kathy Kacer writes for young readers. Her novels are stories of hope, courage, and humanity in the face of adversity. Examples of her Holocaust historical fiction are Secret of Gabi's Dresser, Night Spies, Clara's War, and The Diary of Laura's Twin. Examples of her historical non-fiction are The Underground Reporters and Hiding Edith. Her books have won the Silver Birch, Red Maple, Hackmatack, and Jewish Book awards. They have been published in Germany, China, Slovenia, Thailand, England, Japan, Belgium, and other countries.

Dr. Ann Millin

Ann Mann Millin, Ph.D., is the Historian in Leadership Programs in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's National Institute for Holocaust Education, Washington, D.C.  Before joining the Institute staff, Dr. Millin was the Special Assistant to the Director of the Museum's Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies and the Program Coordinator of the Miles Lerman Center for the Study of Jewish Resistance.  Prior to her work in the Center, she was the Historian in the Museum's Photo Archives.

Since 1999, she has served as Historian in the Museum's Law Enforcement and Society Program for the FBI Academy-Quantico New Agent, Analyst, and National Academy programs, as well as the Law Justice and the Holocaust nation-wide program for prosecutors and judges.  Currently, she is also co-coordinator of the Museum's outreach programs to the professions in support of the Museum's current speical exhibition, Sate of Deception:  The Power of Nazi Propaganda, and is the Curator of the exhibition's website.

Dr. Millin received a B.A. in Speech and Theatre from Macalester College, an M.A. in Religious Studies from Vanderbilt University, and a Ph.D. in Jewish History from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.  Dr. Millin has been a research fellow at the University of Goettingen and an Inter-University Fellow at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  She has taught Jewish History, Judaic Studies, World Religions, and Holocaust studies at HUC-JIR, the University of Cincinnati, and the University of Kentucky at Lexington.  Her scholarly research focuses on the history of Jewish social welfare work in Germany and Austria and Jewish forced emigration from Vienna.  Dr. Millin is also the translator of Goetz Aly's The Brief Life of Marion Samuel, 1931-1943 (Henry Holt/Metropolitan, 2008).