39th Tikkun Olam Award to Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel

Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel is the founder and executive director of the Remember the Women Institute, a not-for-profit organization based in New York City that carries out and encourages research and cultural projects that integrate women into history. Her own focus is on Jewish women, especially women during the Holocaust.

She is the author or editor of six books on various aspects of the Holocaust. Her newest book is Mielec, Poland: The Shtetl That Became a Nazi Concentration Camp (Gefen Publishers, 2012). This book is partially based on research carried out as a Research Fellow at the International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem in 2006. She is also the author of The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp (University of Wisconsin Press, 2004), a National Jewish Book Awards finalist in the Holocaust Studies and Women’s Studies categories. This book was published as a paperback in 2006, in Hebrew, 2007, and in Portuguese, 2009.

She is co-editor of Sexual Violence against Jewish Women during the Holocaust (Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England, 2010), part of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute‘s series on Jewish women and a National Jewish Book Awards finalist in the Women’s Studies category. She is the editor of a new and expanded edition of the memoir of the sister of former New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, Fiorello’s Sister: Gemma La Guardia Gluck’s Story (Syracuse University Press, 2007). She is the author of Never Too Late To Remember: The Politics Behind New York City’s Holocaust Museum (Holmes & Meier, 1996); and The Outraged Conscience: Seekers of Justice for Nazi War Criminals in America (SUNY Press, 1985, electronic edition, 2012).

She curated an innovative exhibit and authored an accompanying catalog entitled Women of Ravensbrück, Portraits of Courage: Art by Julia Terwilliger for the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg, FL, and also curated a permanent exhibit about rescue to Oswego, NY, entitled “Bitter Hope: From Holocaust to Haven,” at the New York State Museum in Albany, and an exhibit about Gemma La Guardia Gluck for Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York. She was co-author of two educational booklets, Nazi War Criminals in America: Facts…Action (1981) and Ensino e Educação com Igualdade de Gênero na Infância e na Adolescência: Guia Prática para Educadores e Educadoras (Teaching and Education with Gender Equality in Childhood and Adolescence: A Practical Guide for Teachers) (1996).

She has written and lectured internationally on the Holocaust for more than thirty-five years, presenting lectures and conference papers throughout the United States, as well as in Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Russia, and Sweden. She has also helped to organize conference panels and workshops, including the groundbreaking workshop, “Beyond Anne Frank: Teaching about Women and the Holocaust,” at a Conference on Teaching the Holocaust, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem (2006): various panels at the Scholars’ Conference on the Holocaust; the first session dealing with women and the Holocaust (2005) and with sexual violence during the Holocaust (2009) at the World Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem; the first session dealing with sexual violence during the Holocaust, the Association for Jewish Studies (2010); and a special panel at a Women and the Holocaust conference in Warsaw, Poland (2011).

Her articles have appeared in print media that includes the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, The Jerusalem Post, The Forward, Reform Judaism, Catholic News Service, Newsday, Women’s Review of Books, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Minerva: A Review of Science, Learning and Policy, Lilith, and Midstream. She served as a correspondent for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (New York, 1978-1988; Brazil,1992-2000) and Catholic News Service (Brazil Correspondent,1988-1995), and wrote hundreds of by-lined articles appearing in newspapers serviced by these international wire services.

She has also contributed chapters to such books as Life, Death and Sacrifice: Women and Family in the Holocaust (ed. Esther Hertzog, Gefen Publishing, 2008); The Legacy of the Holocaust: Women and the Holocaust (eds. Zygmunt Mazur, Jay T. Lees, Arnold Krammer and Wladyslaw Witalisz, Jagiellonian University Press, 2007); Lessons and Legacies, Volume VII, The Holocaust in International Perspective (ed. Dagmar Herzog, Northwestern University Press, 2006); Holocaust Literature: An Encyclopedia of Writers and Their Work, Volume 2 (ed. S. Lillian Kremer, New York, Routledge, 2003); Women in the Holocaust: Responses, Insights and Perspectives (ed. Marcia Littell, Merion Westfield Press International, 2001); The Holocaust in an Age of Genocide, Volume 3 (eds. John K. Roth and Elisabeth Maxwell, London, Palgrave, 2001); Yad Vashem Studies XXVII (ed. David Silberklang, Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, Spring 2000); Remembrance, Repentance, Reconciliation: The 25th Anniversary Volume of the Annual Scholars Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches (ed. Douglas F. Tobler, Lanham, University Press of America, 1998); Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook XXXIX (London, 1994); Ibero Amerikanisches Archiv; and Encyclopaedia Judaica Decennial Book; as well as volumes of various conference proceedings.

She has also worked in television and film, creating, producing, and hosting Heritage and Destiny on the Albany, New York ABC-TV affiliate in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1979 she produced and moderated From Hitler to Uncle Sam: How American Intelligence Used Nazi War Criminals, a television documentary series. She served as a consultant for and was interviewed in Where Birds Don’t Sing, a documentary about Ravensbrück and Sachsenhausen concentration camps, produced by Rosemarie Reed.

She was a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar Visiting Scholar for a seminar on Cultural Responses to the Holocaust in America and Abroad, Brandeis University, 1996. She represented the Center for the Study of Women and Gender, University of São Paulo, at the NGO Forum on Women at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 1995. She won the National Foundation for Jewish Culture Musher Publication Prize to facilitate the publication of a doctoral dissertation on Jewish life, 1994; and the Meinhart Speilman Dissertation Bequest, City College, Jewish Studies, 1992. She has been a senior researcher at the Center for the Study of Women and Gender at the University of São Paulo, Brazil for some twenty years and has also been an Associated Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Study of Women and Society, The Graduate School and University Center, City University of New York; a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar; and a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Philadelphia Center on the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights. She has been a member of the National Commission for Catholic-Jewish Religious Dialogue in Brazil, the first woman appointed to the commission by the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops.

A native of Glens Falls, NY, Dr. Saidel received her PhD in Political Science from The Graduate School and University Center, City University of New York, in New York City. She served for nine years in Albany and New York City as a special assistant to Senator Manfred Ohrenstein, the Democratic leader of the New York State Senate, with responsibilities that included Holocaust education in the state and planning for the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. She made Aliyah to Israel in 2001, and currently divides her time among Jerusalem, New York City, and São Paulo.

(Click on image to enlarge)


A historic international symposium on sexual violence during the Holocaust took place on November 7–8, 2012, convened by USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education and Remember the Women Institute. For details, click HERE

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