The SaddleBrooke WWII Roundtable will be presenting a talk by a scholar from Arizona State University, Volker Benkert. Dr. Benkert is the director of ASU’s Graduate Studies Program which grants a master’s degree in WWII studies. The title of his presentation is “Rescue, Resistance, and Renewal: The Story of the Loewy Family in World War II and the Founding of Beth Hebrew Temple in Phoenix.” His talk will be on Wednesday, Feb. 19th.
Benkert says, “Beth Hebrew’s story is [one] of rescue, resistance, and resilience. It begins with Fred and Elias Loewy’s resistance against Nazi Germany, where they rescued 1,500 people in a Vichy camp in Southern France and actively fought in the French Resistance in close coordination with the Allies. Their story became a local story when they settled in postwar Phoenix and helped found Beth Hebrew as Phoenix’s first orthodox synagogue. Beth Hebrew was narrowly rescued from the wrecking ball and today it is being restored by Michael Levine, a Phoenix-based developer with a penchant for historical preservation.”
Volker Benkert is an Assistant Professor in the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Arizona State University. His research focuses on the impact of sudden regime change on biographies after both totalitarian regimes in 20th century Germany. He also serves as Director of Graduate Studies for the new World War II Studies Program offered in collaboration with the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.
Please note: Dr. Volker will be appearing in the MountainView ballroom on Wednesday, Feb. 19th, not on the third Thursday as usual. This change is to accommodate Dr. Volker’s teaching responsibilities.