AUP graduation ceremony at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.


Roger Frie: Witnessing the Crimes of Our Grandparents: Remembering and Responsibility in the Wake of the Holocaust

University Room: David T. McGovern Grand Salon (C-104)
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 - 17:30 to 20:00

Roger Frie

What does it mean to discover a Nazi history in one’s own family? This was a discovery I neither wanted nor asked for, and yet, in a moment defined by chance and circumstance, it became an irrefutable reality. Recognition of my German grandfather’s support for the Nazi regime led to a host of questions about the nature of memory, its dissociation and transmission. What lurks in the silences that are passed down between generations? How does our collective response to history’s atrocities shape what we what we know as individuals? What do I tell my children and what does it teach us about the responsibility to remember? Any answer to these questions, I believe, points to the complexity of memory and the ethical demands of history. Using my German family history as a guide, and reflecting on a life lived across German and Jewish contexts, my talk will explore the moral and psychological implications of memory in this time of societal crises.

Roger Frie is a philosopher and historian educated in London and Cambridge and trained as a psychoanalyst and psychologist in New York City. He is Professor of Education at Simon Fraser University and Affiliate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and Psychoanalytic Faculty and Supervisor at the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and Psychology in New York. He has published and lectured widely on historical trauma, culture and memory, and human interaction. He is author of the award winning book, “Not In My Family: German Memory and Responsibility After the Holocaust" (Oxford University Press, 2017), which received the 2017 Canadian Jewish Literary Award. His new edited book “History Flows Through Us: Germany, the Holocaust and the Importance of Empathy” (Routledge Press), creates a dialogue between Holocaust historians and psychoanalysts


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