Expert compares how non-intervention played out in Holocaust and today

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Amos N. Guiora

The Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills will welcome Amos N. Guiora, University of Utah law professor, at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 10. His lecture, “The Crime of Complicity: The Bystander from the Holocaust to Today,” will examine the role of bystanders during the Holocaust and in contemporary society.

Drawing on lessons from the Holocaust, such as the death marches and the German occupation of Holland and Hungary, and how they were dependent upon bystander non-intervention, Guiora will share his own family’s experiences as well. He also will bring the issue into current perspective, citing examples such as sexual assaults on campuses, along with other crimes where bystanders chose to act or not, and the resulting consequences.

He asserts that a society cannot rely on morals and compassion alone in determining responsibility to help another in danger. Furthermore, he believes that ultimately it ought to be a legal issue and the obligation to intervene must be made a law, with non-intervention becoming a crime.

“If you are a bystander and witness a crime, should intervention to that crime be a legal obligation or is moral responsibility enough? These are some of the poignant questions and topics Professor Guiora will address,” said Rabbi Eli Mayerfeld, HMC CEO.
“The comparisons to the bystanders of today to those who stood idly by during the Holocaust are striking. This will be a thought-provoking, moving discussion and we are honored to have Professor Guiora speak here.”

Guiora is a widely cited expert and author on the legal aspects of count-erterrorism and international law. A native of Israel, he served for 19 years in the Israel Defense Forces as a lieutenant colonel and held a number of senior command positions, including commander of the IDF School of Military Law and legal adviser to the Gaza Strip.

The event is supported by Michelle and Mitchell Bleznak, Rozie and Bernie Friedman, Lisa and Robert Gittleman, Sandra Seligman and Gilbert Glassberg, Nancy and James Grosfeld, Sandra and William Lefkofsky, Michael Liebowitz, Uriel Barron Manrique, Stewart Shear, Sara Guyer and Scott Straus, Malke and Gary Torgow, Anita and Ken Volk, and Lori and Michael Wayne.

Community partners include the Sigmund and Sophie Rohlik Foundation, Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor, Michigan Humanities Council (an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities) and the PNC Foundation.

A signing for Guiora’s most recent book, The Crime of Complicity: The Bystander in the Holocaust, will follow the presentation, along with a dessert reception.

Admission is $10 and $5 for members and college students. To RSVP, contact Laura Williams at (248) 536-9605 or email rsvp@holocaustcenter.org by Sept. 6.

Amos N. Guiora
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