Denison Guest Lecturer Discusses Rebuilding Synagogue Destroyed In Dresden's 'Kristallnacht'
Posted: October 23, 2000
Henry Landsberger, grandson of the chief rabbi of the Dresden, Germany, synagogue which was destroyed during the November 1938 pogrom associated with the Nazi "Kristallnacht" at the start of the Holocaust, will speak at Denison at 8 p.m. on Wednesday (Oct. 25) in Higley Hall Auditorium. Professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Landsberger will discuss the history of the synagogue and the movement to build a new synagogue and Jewish community center in Dresden. His appearance at Denison is sponsored by the modern languages department and the Patty Foresman Fund.
Landsberger's grandfather, Jakob Winter, had been chief rabbi of the Dresden synagogue for more than 50 years when it was destroyed. Landsberger's father was taken to the Buchenwald concentration camp, returning some four weeks later but severely affected by the experience. Landsberger, who was 13 years old, found refuge in a London hostel for refugee children for two years. His parents finally managed to escape to Chile from Dresden in September 1939. Later, Landsberger was taken into the home of a kindly non-Jewish widower in Lincoln, England, where he went to high school. He worked in a coal mine during the last year of World War II.
Graduating with first class honors from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1948, Landsberger continued his education at Cornell University, earning his doctorate in 1954. He taught at Cornell until 1968, leaving to join the sociology department faculty at the University of North Carolina. Landsberger also has served as a visiting professor in England, Chile, Ghana and Switzerland.
Since his retirement, Landsberger has been active on the advisory committee on cost containment of the State Health Planning Commission, on the North Carolina legislative committee of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and on the steering committee of the N.C. Health Care Access Coalition.
Landsberger has visited Israel frequently since 1990, studying both Israel's internal problems and the peace process. He first returned to Dresden in 1980. In 1993 he was part of the group instrumental in having a square renamed after his grandfather. He is a member of the commission to raise funds for the building of a new synagogue and community center which is jointly sponsored by the City of Dresden, the State of Saxony, the Catholic and Lutheran churches, and the Jewish community.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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