Dr. Michael Berenbaum

President, The Berenbaum Group


Michael Berenbaum is a writer, lecturer, and teacher consulting in the conceptual development of museums and the historical development of films. He is the director of the Sigi Ziering Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust and a Professor of Jewish Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, and served as the Podlich Distinguished Visitor at Claremont Mckenna College, the Gold-Weinstein Distinguished Visiting Professor of Holocaust Studies at Chapman University, Ida E. King Distinguished Professor of Holocaust Studies at Richard Stockton College for 1999-2000 and the Strassler Family Distinguished Visiting Professor of Holocaust Studies at Clark University in 2000. For the prior three years, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. He was the Director of the United States Holocaust Research Institute at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Hymen Goldman Adjunct Professor of Theology at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. From 1988-1993 he served as Project Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, overseeing its creation. He has previously taught at Wesleyan University, Yale University and has served as a visiting professor at three of the major Washington area universities - George Washington University, The University of Maryland and American University.

Berenbaum is the author and editor of twenty books, scores of scholarly articles and hundreds of journalistic pieces. He was the Executive Editor of the Second Edition of the Encylopaedia Judaica, which was awarded the Dartmouth Medal of the American Library Association for the Best Reference work of 2006. Of his book, After Tragedy and Triumph, Raul Hilberg said, "All those who want to read only one book about the condition of Jewry in 1990 would do well to choose Michael Berenbaum…In his description of contemporary Jewish thought, he sacrifices neither complexity nor lucidity." Charles Silberman praised The World Must Know as "a majestic and profoundly moving history of the Holocaust...It is must reading for anyone who would like to be human in the post-Holocaust world." The Village Voice praised Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp with, "The scholarship, broad and deep, makes this the definitive book on one of our century's defining horrors."

Among his other works are A Mosaic of Victims: Non-Jews Persecuted and Murdered by the Nazis, The Vision of the Void: Theological Reflections on the Works of Elie Wiesel, and Witness to the Holocaust: An Illustrated Documentary History of the Holocaust in the Words of Its Victims, Perpetrators, and Bystanders. He was co-editor on several works, including The Holocaust: Religious and Philosophical Implications (with John Roth), The Holocaust and History: The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed and the Reexamined (with Abraham Peck), and most recently, The Bombing of Auschwitz: Should the Allies Have Attempted It? ( with Michael Neufeld).

In film, his work as Co-Producer of One Survivor Remembers: The Gerda Weissman Klein Story was recognized with an Academy Award, an Emmy Award and the Cable Ace Award. He was the historical consultant on The Shoah Foundation's Documentary, The Last Days, which won an Academy Award for the best feature length documentary of 1998. In 2001, Berenbaum was a historical consultant or chief historical consultant for HBO's Conspiracy, recently nominated for 10 Emmy awards, for NBC's Uprising (to be aired in November 2001), and the History Channel's The Holocaust: The Untold Story, which won the CINE Goldgen Eagle Award and a Silver Medal at the US International Film and Video Festival. He was also Executive Producer, writer and historian for a film entitled Desperate Hours on the Holocaust in Turkey. For his work in journalism, he won the Simon Rockower Memorial Award of the American Jewish Press Association three times in three different categories during a two-year period.

Berenbaum takes special pleasure in his work as a teacher. His course at Georgetown was named by the student newspaper as one of the ten most important courses in the University. Among his former students was the famed American entertainer, Pearl Bailey, who wrote of Berenbaum: "The wisdom I gained from his class is priceless. He is young, aggressive, tough, wise as some sages of yore, and as brilliant as a diamond. When class ended, you felt filled, drained, and filled again." (Pearl Bailey, Between You and Me)

Berenbaum is a graduate of Queens College (BA, 1967) and Florida State University (Ph.D., 1975), and also attended The Hebrew University, the Jewish Theological Seminary and Boston University. He has won numerous fellowships including the Danforth Fellowship, the George Wise Fellowship at Tel Aviv University, and the Charles E. Merrill Fellowship at FSU. Berenbaum was an elected fellow of the Society for Values in Higher Education. He was given a Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa) from Nazareth College in 1995 and a Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa) from Denison University

He is married to Melissa Patack Berenbaum, who is the Vice-President and General Manager of the Motion Picture Association of America, California Group. He is the father of four children: Ilana, a Brown University honors graduate, who was ordained as a Rabbi by the University of Judaism in May 2001; Lev, a Los Angeles based businessman; Joshua, born in December 1998; and Mira, born in May, 2000.

 

 
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