Harper partners with Illinois Holocaust Museum for lecture

Harper College has partnered with the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie for an annual lecture by Dr. Peter Hayes, an internationally respected expert in Holocaust history.

The topic of the fifth annual Pfeffer Family Forum is "Magical Thinking or Modern Planning? The Ideas Behind the Holocaust." Hayes, a professor at Northwestern University who specializes in the history of Germany in the 20th century, particularly the Nazi period, will lead a discussion on the argument that the Holocaust was not a product of modern ideas, but rather a primitive process of separation, transportation and murder.

The event will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4, at the museum, 9603 Woods Drive in Skokie. Admission is free for members, $8 for students up to age 22 and $12 for adults. Reservations are required.

Professor Richard Middleton-Kaplan, who regularly teaches literature courses on the Holocaust, said it's a remarkable honor that Harper was invited to partner in sponsoring this year's lecture.

"I have attended all of the previous lectures, and they have each been stimulating, thought-provoking and groundbreaking," he said.

In 2010, Hayes and three other historians released a nearly 900-page report stating Germany's foreign ministry staff across Europe cooperated in the mass murder of Jews and others. It shows that Germany diplomats during the Nazi era were not only informed, but actively participated in the extermination policies.

"Holocaust perpetrators were anything but soulless bureaucrats fulfilling their functions," Hayes said. "They were people who saw themselves as political warriors fervently inspired by a distinct worldview."

To learn more about the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center and Hayes' lecture, visit For reservations, email

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