June 2018 Archives

June 29, 2018

Dr. Dori Laub, co-founder of the Fortunoff Archive

Dr. Dori Laub, one of the founders of the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, died on June 23, 2018, in Woodbridge, Connecticut.

Dr. Laub and Laurel Vlock, a New Haven television producer, began videotaping Holocaust survivors in May 1979 in what became the Holocaust Survivors Film Project (HSFP). In 1981, the HSFP tapes were deposited at Yale where they formed the initial collection of the Fortunoff Archive.  

“We are deeply saddened by the news of Dori’s death,” said Stephen Naron, director of the Fortunoff Archive.  “Dori’s work was groundbreaking and critical to the archive’s growth and success today. At 81, he was still active professionally and contributed regularly to our work by sharing his experience and advice. His presence will be sorely missed.”

Dr. Laub participated in 134 testimony taping sessions for the HSFP and the Fortunoff Archive as well as for other independent projects. He also trained interviewers for affiliated projects in the U.S. Israel, Canada, and Europe. His unique perspective as a survivor and clinical psychiatrist shaped the archive’s distinctive methodology, with a focus on empathic listening rather than journalistic interviews.

“He never called them interviews,” said Joanne Weiner Rudof, the collection’s archivist from 1984 to 2017. “He asked very few questions, made minimal intervention. We never used questionnaires. His goal was to create a trust relationship and to follow the survivor’s story, not to lead it. It’s much harder because you have to have confidence in the process and the survivor’s ability to tell their own story.”

Born in Czernowitz, Romania, in 1937, Dr. Laub was deported in 1942 with his parents to Transnistria, a region of the Ukraine between the Bug and Dniester Rivers that was conquered by the Germans and Romanians in 1941. His father disappeared during a German raid prior to liberation by the Soviets. Dr. Laub and his mother were reunited with his grandparents who had survived in Czernowitz. They emigrated to Israel in 1950 where Dr. Laub attended medical school, graduating in 1963.

He maintained an active private practice focused on survivors of trauma and was a clinical professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine.  He also co-founded the Genocide Studies Program at Yale’s MacMillan Center, served as its acting director in 2003 and as deputy director for the past 20 years.

 “Dr. Dori Laub was an inspiration,” said Ben Kiernan,  A. Whitney Griswold Professor of History and the program’s founding director. “He demonstrated an intense scholarly and human interest not only in the devastation wreaked by the Nazi Holocaust but also in the impact of many other genocides on their victims around the world. And he was a pre-eminent scholar of trauma who also fostered a multidisciplinary interest in the study of genocide through history, sociology, religion, anthropology, political science, law, medicine, and photography. He will be greatly missed by many colleagues and former students in a variety of fields.”

Read Dr. Laub’s online obituary here. Hear him talk about empathic listening in this video excerpt.

Post on June 29, 2018 - 3:55pm |

June 28, 2018

Portrait of Elizabeth Deering Hanscom in her cap and gown, she is the first woman to earn a Ph.D. from Yale.

In a new Yale history exhibit, photos, letters, artifacts, and other archival material bring alive the stories of notable Yalies, including:

  • Ebenezer Baldwin. He was a 1763 graduate who died serving in the Revolutionary War.
  • Elizabeth Deering Hanscom (pictured at left). She was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. from Yale.
  • Renowned “baby doctor” Benjamin Spock. His 1946 book on childcare became a bestseller.
  • Polly Stone Buck, wife of Branford College’s second master and Yale provost Norman Buck. She corresponded with Yalies serving in World War II.
  • Joseph Andrew Johnson III. He was the second African American to earn a doctorate in physics from Yale.

The exhibit is on display in the Memorabilia Room at Sterling Memorial Library, 120 High St., June 25-Oct. 5.


Post on June 28, 2018 - 2:12pm |

June 12, 2018

An 1847 image of Frederick Douglass from the Yale University Library's Visual Resources Collection.

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library will mark the 242nd anniversary of the nation’s founding with a special display of  the Dunlap Broadside, a rare copy of the historic first printing of the Declaration of Independence, together with an 1852 printing of Frederick Douglass’ famous speech about slavery and the Declaration of Independence, now known as “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” A public reading of the two documents will be held on Wednesday, July 5, at 4 pm. These and several other historic documents will be on display from June 28 through July 11. Further details of the exhibit and event here.

Post on June 12, 2018 - 11:26am |