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Over 100 students, faculty, administrators, and community members packed the Lecture Hall in the Technology Building on October 14th  to hear a compelling and emotional lecture on the early 20thcentury Armenian Genocide. The guest speaker was John Pehlivanian who is of Armenian ancestry, and whose family members were among the 1.5 million massacred in what is referred to as the “Forgotten Genocide.” Speaking from years of scholarly research and personal experience, Pehlivanian, an attorney, related heart wrenching survivor testimonies.

To place this in historical context: The history of the Armenians since ancient times is one of continual persecution. For over 3000 years, Armenians had lived and thrived in the southern Caucasus under a succession of foreign regimes. Resented for being better educated and wealthier than their Turkish neighbors, and suspected of  being “infidels,” more loyal to their Christian faith than to the Muslim Ottoman caliphate, Armenians were victimized and discriminated against.

The first state sanctioned large scale massacre happened between 1894 and 1896 when soldiers and citizens decimated Armenian villages –raping women, murdering men and children– leaving behind a death toll in the  hundreds of thousands. In 1908, a group of radical reformers overthrew Sultan Abdul Hamid. These “Young Turks” were determined to “Turkify” the empire which meant eliminating the remaining Christian Armenians.

In the Spring of 1915, the genocide began with the expulsion of Armenians from their homes, death marches through the Mesopotamia desert, killing squads, crucifixions and burnings, and finally, the systematic mass extermination of men, women, and children. Five years later, over 1.5 million of Turkey’s Armenians had been  massacred.

Armenian refugees: A group of Armenians from Zeytun that were forcibly brought to Marash in May, 1915: After half an hour of being photographed, Turks burned and massacred them all. The governor of Marash stands in the upper row.From the collection of the Russian military photographer Parakhodov, Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute

Wednesday, April 11 from 6:30 p.m. – Gateway Lecture Hall

Opening Commemorative Ceremony collaboration with Congregation B’nai Israel of Toms River.  Comments representative clergy of Toms River’s diverse religious community, candle lighting service, and guest speaker and survivor, Clair Boren.

Thursday, April 12 from 9:00 a.m. – 12 p.m.

The reading of the names is being held at Congregation B’nai Israel of Toms River.

Thursday, April 12 from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Conference A&B

What our Fathers Did: Presentation by Ernie Arlans, OCC alumni and former Intern for the Center who is now finishing up graduate studies at Rutgers University majoring in Public History. The names of Hess, Himmler and Goering still have the power to evoke the horrors of Nazi Germany. Using research and documentary clips, Ernie will discuss what it was like to live with one of those surnames.

Monday, April 16 from 11:00 a.m. – Gateway Lecture Hall

Hitler’s Children is an Israeli-German 2011 documentary film directed by Chanoch Zeevi that portrays how relatives of Hitler’s inner circle deal with the burden of that relationship and the identification of their surname and family ties with the horrors of the Holocaust. They describe the conflicted feelings of guilt and responsibility they carry with them in their daily lives and the disparate reactions of their siblings and other family members. Intro and Q&A Dr. Ali Botein-Furrevig.

Tuesday, April 17 from 11:00 a.m. – Technology Rm. 115

Inheritance is a compelling 2006 documentary film about Monika Hertwig, the daughter of Amon Goth, Commandant of Krakow-Plaszow concentration camp.  Growing up, Monika was told by her mother that he was a good man and war hero, but Monika discovered as an adult, the truth after viewing Schindler’s List. In her search for more information, Hertwig reaches out to Helen Jonas-Rosenzweig, a Holocaust survivor who was interned during World War II at Krakow-Plaszow, and forced to work as a maid for Amon Goth. More than 60 years after Goth was hanged for war crimes, the two women first meet at the site of the former concentration camp. Intro and Q&A Dr. Ali Botein-Furrevig.

Wednesday, April 25 from 12:30 p.m. – Gateway Lecture Hall

You Are The Future: Written by and starring acclaimed international cabaret singer, actress, and recording artist NAOMI MILLER, a child of survivors who was born in a displaced person’s camp in Germany. This is an inspirational program interspersed with acting, mesmerizing personal narrative, and engaging storytelling to honor and remember those who perished in the Holocaust in Eastern Europe. The program will be followed by a memorial prayer.

Myths and Facts About Israel: The Proliferation and Tolerance of Antisemitism and Ant-Israel Activism on College Campuses
Monday, November 6, 2024. 11:00am TECH 115

Dr. Ali Botein-Furrevig, professor and Director of the OCC Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Education, is the author of 3 books on Judaism and Eastern European Jewry. She holds certificates in Jewish and Holocaust studies from Israeli universities and YIVO Institute in NY. She speaks throughout NJ and NY about Jewish history, culture, issues and the history and lifestyle of the Orthodox community in Lakewood. Dr. Botein-Furrevig has many ties to, and familiarity with, the Land of Israel. 

Kristallnacht Observance 
Thursday, November 9, 2023. 9:30am • TECH 115

On November 9–10, 1938, Nazi leaders unleashed a series of pogroms against the Jewish population in Germany and recently incorporated territories. This event came to be called Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass) because of the shattered glass that littered the streets after the vandalism and destruction of Jewish-owned businesses, synagogues, and homes. It was the spark that ignited the Holocaust. Please join us for our program including discussion and survivor testimonies commemorating this event. 

Charlotte Langeveld Speaks 
Monday, November 20, 2023. 9:30am TECH 115

Charlotte Langeveld is an Ocean County College Lecturer II in Social Sciences and a cultural anthropologist with ten years of international field work experience in Africa and Afghanistan with a focus on food security, education and human rights. Her presentation will be based on her fieldwork experience and its global connections. Challenges of effective humanitarian aid delivery will also be discussed.   

It Happened Here: Genocide in America
Wednesday October 2, 2019. 12:30-1:45 • 12:30 pm – 1:45 pm • Gateway Lecture Hall

History Professor Rich Trimble will discuss the history of the genocide of the Native American people and the eradication of their diverse cultures by European explorers and settlers. While Christopher Columbus is remembered as a daring adventurer, he also perpetrated mass atrocities and his legacy is viewed as the starting point of 400 years of exploitation of the indigenous peoples through disease, malnutrition, massacres,  and burning of villages.

Human Rights and the Global Persecution of Christians
Tuesday, October 15, 2019 • 2:00 pm- 3:1 5pm • Gateway Lecture Hall

Yvonne Doval Von Scheidt, Assistant Director of the Educational  Opportunity Fund, will discuss this disturbing trend within the context of the UN Declaration of Human Rights (Article 18) and how it goes unrecognized, unreported, and ignored. Ms. Doval Von Scheidt is a Human Rights Activist and former Director of Latin American Affairs for the International Society for Human Rights, USA Section.

Remembering Kristallnacht
Wednesday, November 15, 2019 • 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm • Gateway Lecture Hall

This collaborative program between OCC’s CHGHRE and Kean University’s Holocaust Resource Center will commemorate Kristallnacht, which occurred on November 9-10, 1938 ,when Nazi leaders unleashed a series of pogroms against the Jewish population in Germany and recently incorporated territories. This event is also known as The Night of Broken Glass because of the shattered glass that littered the streets after the vandalism and destruction of Jewish-owned businesses, synagogues, and homes. Guest Speaker to be announced.

The Scent of Green Papaya – April 6, 2018 – Cancelled

The Scent of Green Papaya is a beautiful Vietnamese drama about a young peasant girl named Mui who is hired to work for a well-to-do family in Saigon. Although the household’s fortunes change for the worse, Mui stays with them as a servant and grows infatuated with one of their friends, the handsome Khuyen). Years later, Mui is employed by Khuyen, who has become a renowned pianist. Although Khuyen has a girlfriend, he gradually begins to realize his own strong connection with Mui. The film won the Caméra d’Or prize at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival, a César Award for Best Debut at the French annual film award ceremony, and was nominated for the 1993 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

Central Station – May 4, 2018

Central Station is a profoundly moving tale of the human spirit, featuring an unforgettable lead performance by Fernanda Montenegro (Best Actress Winner, National Board of Review). Inside Rio de Janeiro’s bustling Central Station, two very unlikely souls are about to become inextricably linked. When a young boy witnesses his mother’s accidental death, a lonely retired school teacher reluctantly takes the child under her wing. Although initially distrustful of each other, the two form an uncommon bond as they venture from the bustling city to Brazil’s barren and remote northeast region in search of the boy’s father. Together, the two embark on a journey of the heart that restores the woman’s spirit and teaches the child precious life lessons.

I, The Worst of All – June 1, 2018 – Cancelled

I, The Worst of All: Set in a magnificent recreation of 17th Century Mexico, this film is based on a true story as told in the book “The Traps of Faith” by Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz.  It is the portrait of a brilliant and beautiful poet, Sister Juana Ines de la Cruz who enters the convent to pursue her love of writing and goes on to gain international renown as one of the best poets in the Golden Age of Spanish poetry. However, this is the height of the Inquisition and her intellectual prowess soon leads to clashes with the Archbishop of Mexico. Sister Juana is protected only by the beautiful new Vicereine who befriends and shelters Sister Juana, while simultaneously becoming her erotic muse.

Candle Lighting and Memorial Service – Monday, May 2, 2016, at 2:30 p.m. – Bartlett Building, Rm. 203

World Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day, known colloquially in Israel and abroad as Yom HaShoah (יום השואה) and in English as Holocaust Remembrance Day, is observed as Israel’s day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews and five million others who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany and its accessories and for the Jewish resistance in that period.  It was inaugurated on 1953, anchored by a law signed by Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and the Israeli President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi. It is held on the 27th of Nisan (April/May) and in accordance with the Jewish calendar.

Mordechai  Grubin, Alumni Representative to the OCC Board of Trustees, Rabbi Moshe Gourarie and  Dr. Ali Botein Furrevig, English Professor and Director of the Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Education will lead the service.

A Survivor’s Odyssey and Legacy – Tuesday, May 3, 2016, at 12:30 p.m. – Gateway Lecture Hall

We are so pleased to welcome, as this year’s keynote speaker, Jackson resident Manny Lindenbaum.  On October 28, 1938, the Lindenbaum family was part of a mass deportation from Germany to Poland with one day’s notice because, although German citizens, they were of Polish descent.  In 1939 just days before the Nazi invasion, Manny and his brother escaped from Poland to England as refugees on the famous Kindertransport.  In 2014, at the age of 83, Manny decided to retrace his refugee journey backward, from Poland to Germany, on a bicycle. He made the journey, along with his grandchildren, to raise money for HIAS programs in Chad in honor of World Refugee Day.  In 2015, Manny was invited to speak at a reception at the White House and along with his granddaughter, Lauren participated in the lighting of the Hanukah menorah alongside President and Mrs. Obama.  Lindenbaum uses his experiences to be an advocate and voice for refugees worldwide and speak to audiences, especially children, on the dangers of bullying and hate: “I believe that when we stand by and listen as others are put down, we become part of the problem; when we speak out against hatred we become part of the solution.”

Two Women, Two Scars – Wednesday, May 4, 2016, at 8:00 a.m. – Bartlett Building, Rm. 203

Film Viewing and Discussion: A film viewing and discussion of Inheritance, the award-winning PBS documentary chronicling the 1994 meeting in Poland between Monica Hertwig, daughter of Nazi commandant Amon Goeth and Monmouth County resident Helen Jonas Rosenzsweig who lived enslaved under Goeth’s roof as his servant and prey for nearly two years during the Holocaust. This is the story of two women whose sorrows and angers intersect in the haunting memory of one man. Discussion and Q&A led by Dr. Ali Botein Furrevig.

Only A Number – Thursday, May 5, 2016, at 12:30 p.m. – Bartlett Building, Rm. 203

Film and Discussion: A True Story of the Struggle to Survive, to Love, and to Remember. Hamilton NJ Filmmaker Steven Besserman tells the story of his mother, Aranka, a holocaust survivor, through her own words. Aranka grew up in Hungary during WWII and relates the horrors she witnessed and endured at the hands of the Nazis.o Besserman visits the sites where his parents grew up, the camp which they first met, and he discusses the lasting impact the Holocaust had on victims and generations later. The film is not only a true documentary but a love story: Aranka and Josef met in a concentration camp separated by a barbed-wire fence and without the aid of a common language and ravaged by torture, starvation, and brutality. They fell in love and gave each other the strength to survive their final weeks of captivity. The story tells one of the millions of stories of Jews who were “only a number” to the Nazis. Q and A to follow led by Dr. Ali Botein Furrevig, English Professor and Director of OCC Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Education.

From Communism to Camps to American – Friday, May 6, 2016, at 12:30 p.m. – Bartlett Building, Rm. 203

My Mother’s Story:  Lecture by Dr. Amy Gilley, Dean of School of Arts and Humanities.  Towards the end of WW11, many refugees fleeing communist regimes in the Baltic region found themselves in Nazi-occupied Germany where they were forced to work in factories alongside camp inmates. When the camps were liberated, these non-German refugees were considered displaced persons. Dr. Gilley’s talk focuses on her mother’s experiences who fled Estonia in 1944, spending the remainder of the war in Germany, before eventually finding her way to America. Says Gilley: “My mother’s story goes beyond survival; her experiences gave me valuable lessons and insights into the depths and the heights of humanity.  Genocide and war and tyranny never seem to end, but the human faces are often

Nazi Propaganda and the Holocaust – Friday, May 6, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. – Bartlett Building, Rm. 203

Film: Ernie Arians, OCC graduate and former intern for our Center for Peace, Genocide, and Holocaust Studies, is currently at Rutgers University majoring in History and Genocide Studies.  Using lecture and film, this presentation will cover how, following the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, Hitler established a Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda headed by Joseph Goebbels. The Ministry’s aim was to ensure that the Nazi message was successfully communicated through art, music, theater, films, books, radio, educational materials, and the press. There were several audiences for Nazi propaganda. Germans were reminded of the struggle against foreign enemies and Jewish subversion. During periods preceding legislation or executive measures against Jews, propaganda campaigns created an atmosphere tolerant of violence against Jews.

Arranged – Wednesday, October 5, 2016 – Black Box Theatre

Funny and poignant, this film centers on the friendship between an Orthodox Jewish woman and a Muslim woman who meet as first-year teachers at a public school in Brooklyn. Over the course of the year, they learn they share much in common – not least of which is that they are both going through the process of arranged marriages.

Christian Genocide in the Middle East – Thursday, October 27, 2016, at 12:30 p.m. – Technology Lecture Hall

Lecture by StandWithUS* (Philadelphia Branch) Executive Director Joseph Puder and Associate Director Ferne Hassan.

Light refreshments were served.

Sponsored by: The Ocean County College Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Education; Kean University Holocaust Resource Center; New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education

Christians in the Middle East face the worst persecution and execution in over a thousand years. MAINSTREAM MEDIA IGNORES IT.  WILL YOU?

As defined by the Geneva Convention, GENOCIDE refers to violent crimes and human rights abuses committed against groups with the intent to destroy the existence of the group. Join us for an enlightening and compelling presentation on a crisis that threatens the very existence of ancient communities in the Middle East.

In countries including  Syria, Iraq, and Libya, ISIS is committing genocide against Christians and other non- Muslim minorities; actions which John Kerry called “shocking human rights abuses.”

Rapes, torture, kidnappings, forced marriages, bombings, the destruction of religious property and monuments are accelerating at an alarming pace. Israel and, for now, Lebanon, are the only countries where human rights are respected and where Christians are free to practice their religion and  are safe from persecution

Monsieur Ibrahim – Wednesday, November 2, 2016 – Black Box Theatre

Screen legend Omar Sharif stars in this very humanistic film about an elderly Muslim widower who owns a grocery store in a shabby working-class section of Paris. His life takes on new meaning when he befriends Momo, a young and lonely Jewish boy. In Ibrahim, Momo finds the father he never had, a patient man infused with wisdom and kindness. The film traces the relationship between the two as it develops over time, a journey that changes both their lives. This magical work (French with subtitles) is engaging and deceptively deep in the philosophical issues about which it encourages discussion.

Kristallnacht Remembered – Thursday, November 10, 2016 – Gateway Lecture Hall

Lecture by Lawrence Glaser, Executive  Director of the NJ Commission on Holocaust Education.

Light refreshments were served.

Sponsored by: The Ocean County College Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Education; Kean University Holocaust Resource Center; New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education

Kristallnacht is considered by many as the beginning of the Holocaust in Europe. It occurred across Germany and Austria on November 9th and 10th, 1938. 91 Jews were killed, many others severely beaten. 30,000 Jewish men were sent to concentration camps though most were released after a few weeks. 267 synagogues were desecrated and destroyed, windows of Jewish businesses were smashed, and thousands of Holy Jewish texts were burned.

The Crisis in Sudan and Afghanistan: A Personal Perspective – Friday, December 2, 2016 – Technology Lecture Hall

Right now, millions of citizens in Sudan and Afghanistan face daily human rights abuses from violent and oppressive governments. These crimes against humanity include killings, rape, torture, targeted bombings, and displacement. Sociology Adjunct Professor Charlotte Langeveld has extensive experience in these conflict zones, working with organizations to provide humanitarian aid to the victims of civil war and genocide in these and other conflict zones.

Lemon Tree Film – Wednesday, December 7, 2016 – Bartlett Lecture Hall

Hiam Abbass won the Israeli Academy Award for her powerful portrayal of a lonely Palestinian widow who tends her family’s West bank lemon grove. When the new Israeli Defense Minister and his wife move next door, the government demands that the trees be uprooted.  Can two women from opposite sides of the fence find justice in a country and culture divided?  Based on a true story.

OCC Professor to Discuss His Experiences and Thoughts as a Former Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand – April 28, 2015

Established by President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1961 to promote world peace and friendship, the US Peace Corps represented the very best of humanity, ingenuity and hope for a better tomorrow. Fifty years later, with volunteers in over 139 countries, the Corps remains a leader in international development and citizen diplomacy.  The volunteers who serve abroad come home to their communities and share their stories and experiences, and how their service changed their lives and the lives of others. Rob Furstoss has been a professor of English at OCC for 26 years. Before joining our faculty, Professor Furstoss spent 2 ½ years  in Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer, part of that time in a teaching capacity. Through lecture and pictures, he will share his experiences and how they impacted both his personal and professional life. Q and A to follow. You do not want to miss this dynamic and certainly very relevant presentation.

Education Under Fire: Why is Higher education a Crime in Iran? – May 1, 2015

Higher education is not a crime. But in Iran, for some, it is. The Baha’i are one of the largest religious minorities in Iran who have triumphed over unbelievable hardships, persecutions, torture –and against the regime’s ban on them studying or teaching in Iranian universities. But they do teach and they do study through the underground Baha’i Institute for Higher Education founded in 1987. Using the film “To Light a Candle” as well as personal testimonies, this presentation will highlight the Baha’i commitment to teaching and learning and demonstrate how a group of people can strive for knowledge and inspiration despite all obstacles. OCC student Anthony Festa and other members of NJ’s Baha’i community will be among our guests.

Last Refuge: The Jew of Shanghai – December 4, 2014 – Gateway Lecture Hall

From the mid-1930s to 1941, the international city of Shanghai became a last resort for thousands of Jews fleeing the Nazi terror. Coming by boat from Europe, by train through Russia, Siberia, and Manchuria, and even from Japan, 20,000 European refugees found shelter in Shanghai and survived the Holocaust. Ocean County resident Ernie Mathias was one of those refugees. Along with his parents and grandparents, Mathias emigrated from Germany to China where he lived for 8 years. Mathias will show a gripping documentary film and tell his personal story of his family’s inspiring survival and their struggles with the harsh living conditions in Shanghai as they waited in hopes of returning to the world they left behind.

Watch John Pehlivanian’s talk “The Forgotten Genocide”

Learn More
Armenian National Institute website


  • The Armenian Genocide. PBS critically acclaimed documentary by Andrew Goldberg. 2 Cats Productions.
  • Images of the Spirit of Armenia. Celebration of 3000 years of Armenian art, culture, accomplishments, and survival of the Armenians. 2 Cats Production.


  • Children of Armenia: A Forgotten Genocide and the Century Long Struggle for Justice  by Michael Bobelian. Simon and Schuster.

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Elie Wiesel (1928-2016) Born in Transylvania. Holocaust survivor, Nobel Prize winning writer, teacher, activist speaking out against persecution and injustice around the globe.

“The highest result of education is tolerance.”

Helen Keller (1880-1968) American author and educator who was blind and deaf.


Please contact:
Ali Botein Furrevig, Ph.D.
Professor/Director of the Center for Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education


Dr. Botein-Furrevig holds a BA, MA, and Ph.D. in English literature and is a recipient of a 2009 fellowship at the renowned YIVO Institute in NYC. She holds certificates in Jewish and Holocaust studies from American and Israeli universities. A retired tenured English professor at OCC, she developed courses in Hebrew, Jewish literature, and Holocaust literature. As Center Director, she teaches courses for the college community on Holocaust and Genocide studies, and Jewish culture and history. She also develops and delivers outreach programs for local schools on Judaism and antisemitism. Dr. Botein-Furrevig is the author of four books, two of which received distinguished awards: Heart of the Stranger: A Portrait of Lakewood’s Orthodox Community and Last Waltz on the Danube: The Ethnic German Genocide in History and Memory; The Stories We Carry: Texts and Contexts of Jewish History and Literature from the Biblical Era through the Diaspora; Beyond the Pale: Shtetl Roots, Emigrant Routes, and a New York City Love Story. Dr. Botein-Furrevig is a popular speaker throughout New York and New Jersey.

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