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'Lost' Author to Discuss History, Holocaust, Memory

February 6, 2007 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. - Daniel Mendelsohn -- whose highly acclaimed book “Lost: A Search for Six out of Six Million” describes his quest to discover the history of the part of his family killed by the Nazis -- will talk about the making of the book Tuesday, Feb. 20, at Northwestern University.

Free and open to the public, Mendelsohn will speak on “Lost Between Memory and History: Writing the Holocaust for the Next Generation” when he delivers The Allan Harris Memorial Lecture in Jewish Studies at 5 p.m. in the McCormick Tribune Center Forum, 1870 Campus Drive, Evanston. A book signing will follow.

In describing the search to discover his relatives and his attempts to better comprehend the history of the Holocaust, Mendelsohn traveled to a dozen countries and four continents. Upon meeting people who knew his great uncle and the experiences he and his family had undergone first-hand, Mendelsohn became obsessed with discovering not only how they lived but also how they met their deaths.

At Northwestern, he will discuss the limitations of both memory and history and the responsibilities and difficulties of transmitting stories of the Holocaust to the next generation. In a recent radio interview, Mendelsohn said he was struck by the fact that his own generation will be the last to have had an opportunity to speak to its survivors.

Mendelsohn began a career in journalism after completing a Ph.D. in classics at Princeton University. His articles, reviews and translations have appeared in The New Yorker, New York Times, New York Review of Books, Esquire and Travel and Leisure. As a weekly book critic of New York magazine from 2000 to 2002, he earned the National Book Critics Circle Award for Excellence in Criticism.

Mendelsohn's first book, “The Elusive Embrace,” was named Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Long associated with Princeton's classics department, Mendelsohn now is the Charles Ranlett Flint Professor of Humanities at Bard College in New York.

For further information about the lecture, call (847) 491-2612 or visit http://www.wcas.northwestern.edu/jewish-studies/events.htm.

Topics: Campus Life