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March 29, 1999

Series on anti-Semitism kicks off with April 8 Humanities Lecture

By Barbara McKenna

A lecture on the life of author and Auschwitz survivor Primo Levi launches

Please note: the April 19 lecture has been canceled

a four-part series of talks focusing on anti-Semitism. The lecture, titled "Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz, and the Meaningfulness of Everyday Life," is presented by Murray Baumgarten, UCSC professor of English and comparative literature.

Baumgarten's talk is also part of the 1998-99 Humanities Lecture Series, sponsored jointly by the Humanities Division and the Museum of Art and History, and takes place on Thursday, April 8, from 7 to 8 p.m., at the Museum of Art and History at the McPherson Center, 705 Front St., Santa Cruz. The talk is free and open to the public. A reception follows.

For more information on the lecture, call (831) 459-5742 or 429-1964.

Primo Levi was an Italian Jew who was sent to Auschwitz in 1944. Levi, who died in 1987, was an important author, according to Baumgarten, because he introduced for the first time the idea of "witnessing"--bearing testimony on crimes committed by the Nazis in the concentration camps.

Baumgarten is coholder of UCSC's Neufeld-Levin Chair in Holocaust Studies and works both in Victorian literature and modern Jewish writing. He is the author of City Scriptures: Modern Jewish Writing, and Understanding Philip Roth. In 1994 he became the sixth editor of Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought.

Also planned for the series are the following lectures, which all take place at 4 p.m. in the Stevenson College Silverman Conference Room:

The latter three talks are cosponsored by the Neufeld-Levin Chair in Holocaust Studies, the Center for Cultural Studies, and the Helen and Sanford Diller Family Endowment in Jewish Studies. For more information, call (831) 459-5742.

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