Witnessing the Crimes of Our Grandparents: Remembering and Responsibility After the Holocaust

April 11, 2018

Roger Frie, Hilda Fernandez, Graham ForstEndre Koritar, & annie ross

Wednesday, April 11, 7:00PM–9:00PM, Alma VanDusen & Peter Kaye Room, VPL Central Branch, 350 W Georgia St.

Co-sponsored by SFU's Institute for the Humanities, the Lacan Salon, and the Western Branch Canadian Psychoanalytic Society (WBCPS)

What if you discovered that a cherished family member had been a Nazi? How have German families sought to keep the Holocaust at bay? How do we respond to collective crimes in the past or racial injustices in the present? What lurks in the silences that are passed down between generations and what do we teach our children about the importance of remembering? In his award-winning book, Not in my Family: German Memory and Responsibility After the Holocaust, Roger Frie explores the moral implications of memory in this time of overt prejudice and racism. His intensely personal confrontation with the unspoken Nazi past in his own German family sheds light on nature of trauma and its lasting effects on individuals, families and societies.

Following Roger Frie’s presentation, a panel of discussants will use his book to reflect on the nature of intergenerational trauma and its transmission; the responsibility to address collective crimes across time and place; and the experience of indigenous peoples. There will be time for audience participation. 


Roger Frie is Professor of Education at SFU and Affiliate Professor of Psychiatry at UBC. He is author most recently of Not in My Family: German Memory and Responsibility After the Holocaust, which won the 2017 Canadian Jewish Literary Award and editor of History Flows Through Us: Germany, the Holocaust and the Importance of Empathy. He is a psychologist and philosopher who writes and lectures widely on historical trauma, culture and memory, and social responsibility.


Hilda Fernandez is a practicing psychotherapist and psychoanalyst. She is clinical director of the Lacan Salon, an academic associate with the SFU Institute for the Humanities, and a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at SFU.

Graham Forst has an interdisciplinary PhD in literature and philosophy. He has published several articles on literary criticism and writes reviews for Canadian Literature, one of UBC's journals. In 1975, he founded the Vancouver Holocaust Symposium for High School Students, which he chairs to this day.

Endre Koritar is a training and supervising analyst of the Western Psychoanalytic Society Institute and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UBC. He is interested in how relational, emotional and environmental trauma shapes personality development and psychopathology.

annie ross is an Indigenous (Maya) teacher and artist working along and with community in Canada. She teaches Environmental Ethics in First Nations Studies at Simon Fraser University.