Notes from the Littell Project: Holocaust Remembrance

Littell at memorial
Franklin H. Littell lays flowers at European Memorial

Among his many accomplishments as a scholar, educator, and Methodist preacher, Franklin H. Littell (1917-2009) spent the better part of fifty years dedicated to increasing public awareness about the lessons of the Holocaust and interfaith cooperation between Christians and Jews in its continued remembrance. Littell was a pioneer in establishing academic programs on Holocaust studies. He taught a graduate seminar on the Holocaust at Emory University in 1959, and established a doctoral program at Temple University in 1976. In the 1970s, Littell also established conferences such as the Annual Scholars Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches, an interdisciplinary, international, interfaith conference on Holocaust scholarship; and centers like the National Institute on the Holocaust at Temple University, an interfaith education resource center that encouraged study of the Holocaust in primary and secondary classrooms. In 1978, Littell was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve on the Presidential Commission on the Holocaust, later renamed the US Holocaust Memorial Council, which conceptualized the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC as a permanent living memorial.

With increased public discourse initiated by Holocaust scholars like Littell, observances and remembrance activities in commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust were established on both a national and international scale. In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated January 27 , International Holocaust Remembrance Day¬ as an annual international day of commemoration. The date, January 27, marks the anniversary of the 1945 liberation of the largest Nazi death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet troops.


2014 International Holocaust Remembrance Day events in Philadelphia:

American-Italy Society of Philadelphia:

Congregation Mikveh Israel:

Consulate General of Italy in Philadelphia:

On February 10, 2014, a new exhibition will open in Paley Library, featuring selections from Franklin Littell’s extensive collection of papers in Temple Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center. The exhibition will showcase Littell’s life and work including his Holocaust Remembrance activities.

Jessica Lydon, Associate Archivist, and Courtney Smerz, Project Archivist

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