WINNIPEG — Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel earlier this month agreed to become honorary chair of the Canadian Institute of the Study of Antisemitism [CISA], established here this summer by historian Catherine Chatterley.
“Prof. Wiesel is such a powerful symbol for so many of us – both Jews and non-Jews,” Chatterly said in expressing her pleasure. “He is a uniquely respected symbol of Jewish continuity and survival after the Shoah, a remnant of that incredibly diverse and creative world that was Jewish Europe, but also symbolic of our deep universal humanity, our connection to one another and our hopeful resilience as a species.”
CISA is committed to building a coalition of individuals from a variety of political, ethnic and religious backgrounds who want to educate the public about the history and nature of antisemitism in its classic and contemporary forms, Chatterley said.
“Unfortunately, our post-Holocaust focus on racism and human rights has not produced an equivalent knowledge or concern about antisemitism. We must work to change this reality. Antisemitism must be given equal weight and concern and must be placed on the international human rights agenda.” she added.
With these goals in mind, she said, she is even more pleased that Wiesel has accepted her request. “I am very grateful that he has chosen to stand as the symbolic head of CISA. I’m thankful to be able to consult with him as CISA charts its course for the future,” Chatterley said.
Chatterley, who was born and raised in Winnipeg, completed a BA in European history at the University of Manitoba and teaches a course on antisemitism and the Holocaust there. She trained as a cultural and intellectual historian at the University of Chicago in the fields of modern Jewish history, modern German and central European history. She spent two years in Montreal in a master’s program at Concordia University under the guidance of Prof. Frederick Krantz, who is also the founding director of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, and she was a member of the Montreal Institute for Genocide Studies.
“Holocaust denial, obfuscation, other forms of minimization and outright erasure are growing worldwide,” Chatterly said. “CISA is dedicated to resisting these processes intellectually and to protecting and preserving the scholarly study of the Holocaust as a catastrophic and transformative event in western history.”
CISA is an independent academic charitable organization. For more information, visit http://www.can-isa.com.