Loading Programs

« All Programs

  • This program has passed.

Atrocities’ Truth Tellers: Armenian and Jewish Victim Testimony in Interwar Europe

Apr 10 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

woman standing in street

Join the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life and Berkeley Center for Jewish Studies for Atrocities’ Truth Tellers: Armenian and Jewish Victim Testimony in Interwar Europe, the Annual Pell Lecture with Williams College Professor Alexandra Garbarini.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024 | 6:00pm

In person at The Magnes Collection, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA

The lecture will be recorded.

Writing about the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem in 1961, Hannah Arendt recalled two murder trials from the 1920s in Europe. In 1921, Soghomon Tehlirian, an Armenian man allegedly living as a student in Berlin, assassinated Mehmet Talaat, the former Ottoman Minister of the Interior, for his responsibility in the genocide of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. Five years later, in Paris, Sholem Schwarzbard, a Ukrainian Jew who had recently become a naturalized French citizen, assassinated Symon Petlyura, a former Ukrainian nationalist and military leader, for his role in the pogroms in Ukraine that had killed tens of thousands of Jews. Both trials became media sensations. Paired in Arendt’s memory decades later, the trials of the Armenian and Jewish assassins were paired at the time, and intentionally so, by Schwarzbard’s defenders inside and outside the courtroom. This lecture analyzes how Armenian and Jewish victims bore witness to their experiences of genocide and mass violence in the two trials. In tracing the overlooked influence of Armenian testimony on Jewish testimonial strategies in the era before the Holocaust, it explores a different genealogy of Holocaust testimony.



If you have any questions about accessibility or require accommodations to participate in this event, please contact us at magnes@berkeley.edu or call us at (510) 643-2526 with as much advance notice as possible.


Alexandra Garbarini is the Charles R. Keller Professor of History and Jewish Studies at Williams College. Her research brings together the history of the Holocaust, genocide, and mass violence; the interdisciplinary study of autobiographical sources, specifically, testimony, diaries and letters; and the history of historiography. She is the author of Numbered Days: Diary Writing and the Holocaust (Yale University Press, 2006; National Jewish Book Award finalist), and co-author of Jewish Responses to Persecution, volume 2, 1939-1940 (Rowman & Littlefield, in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2011). In addition to articles and reviews, she has co-edited two volumes: a special issue of the journal Etudes Arméniennes Contemporaines on “Victim Testimony and Mass Violence” (2015), and Lessons and Legacies, vol. XIII, New Approaches to an Integrated History of the Holocaust: Social History, Representation, Theory (Northwestern University Press, 2018). Her work has been supported by grants from the Fulbright Program, the DAAD, the Mellon Foundation, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the American Philosophical Society, and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. Her most recent publication is the English edition of the Holocaust diary of Lucien Dreyfus (the French edition came out in June 2018): ‘A Terrible and Terribly Interesting Epoch’: The Holocaust Diary of Lucien Dreyfus (Rowman & Littlefield, in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2021). She is currently writing a new book about victim testimony to mass violence and genocide from the Armenian genocide to the Holocaust, tentatively titled, Atrocities’ Truth Tellers: Testimony before the Holocaust. Garbarini serves on the Academic Council of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.


The Magnes Collection of Jewish Life and Art
2121 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA 94720 United States
+ Google Map