Art Spiegelman is an influential cartoonist and comics advocate best known for his graphic novel “Maus,” a story developed based on Spiegelman’s relationship with his father, a Holocaust survivor. Depicting the Holocaust with cats as Nazis and mice as Jews, Maus won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992. This spring, Spiegelman will visit Millersville University during the Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide.
This will be the 37th Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide, which is organized by faculty members in Millersville University’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. The theme of this year’s conference is “Remembering through the Arts,” and the events of the conference will highlight visual art, poetry, theater and more.
Spiegelman will appear to talk about “MetaMaus” during the P. Alan and Linda Loss Keynote Lecture on Thursday, April 28. “MetaMaus” is Spiegelman’s most recent book, and it discusses Maus and answers the question “Why comics?”
The Art Spiegelman lecture is sold out, but beforehand, a performance of Robert Convery’s “Songs of Children,” will be held in Biemesderfer Concert Hall at 4:30 p.m. The performance is made up of poems written by children who were interned at Terezin Concentration Camp and was composed in memory of all children who passed away during the Holocaust. In between the performance and the Spiegelman lecture, guests are invited to a reception with refreshments.
The conference has other events planned for the upcoming months as well, including the production of “Her Sister” by Kendra Phillips, a Seattle playwright. This play features the story of Margot Frank, Anne Frank’s sister. Millersville will host the play’s world premiere.
“Her Sister” takes the audience through the last years of Margot’s life, including her time in the hidden Achterhuis, the “secret annex” where the Frank family hid for about two years. The play will premiere Thursday, March 31 at the Rafters Theatre in Dutcher Hall, and will continue through April 9 with both in-person and virtual performances.
On Tuesday, April 26, the University will host Irena Klepfisz for a poetry reading and conversation. Klepfisz was born in the Warsaw ghetto and is the daughter of Michal Klepfisz, who died in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Irena Klepfisz’s poetry touches on feminism, LGBTQ+ issues and socialism in addition to her experiences and the experiences of others regarding the psychological impact of the Holocaust.
An exhibit at the Ekert Art Gallery from March 17 through May 6, titled “Painted Poetry, the Artwork of Sheba Sharrow,” will feature artwork exploring the beauty and tragedy of life. Sharrow was a first-generation American, born to Russian/Ukrainian-Jewish immigrants from Kyiv. Her daughter, Mayda Sharrow, will be at the event to talk about her mother’s response to the Holocaust and her art. Tickets are not required for this event, and a reception will be held Thursday, March 31.
For the full list of events and information on where to purchase tickets, visit https://www.millersville.edu/holocon/index.php.