By Eric Schmalz; Introduction by Susan J. Erenrich
2 October 2020
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What did average Americans know about the Nazi persecution of Jews from 1933 to 1945? The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum initiated the museum’s first nationwide citizen history project to find out. In this Grassroots Leadership and the Arts for Social Change Corner, USHMM’s Eric Schmalz discusses the role students, including those in Corner editor Susan Erenrich’s class at American University, played in answering this question, illustrating the ways students can genuinely make a difference while performing community service.
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Eric Schmalz is the Citizen History Community Manager at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He has been the community manager for the History Unfolded: US Newspapers and the Holocaust project (https://newspapers.ushmm.org/) since November 2015. He oversees the review of newspaper submissions to the project website, assists participants with their questions, and helps educators effectively incorporate History Unfolded into various learning environments. Eric specializes in developing and deepening authentic human connection through his work. Before taking on his current position at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Eric taught high school social studies in Charlottesville, VA. He earned his bachelor’s degree in History at the College of William and Mary and his master’s degree in Teaching (Secondary Social Studies) at the University of Virginia.
Susan (Susie) J. Erenrich is a social movement history documentarian. She uses the arts for social change to tell stories about transformational leadership, resilience, and societal shifts as a result of mobilization efforts by ordinary citizens. Her career in nonprofit/arts management, civic engagement, community organizing and community service spans more than four decades. She has diversified teaching experience at universities, public schools and community-based programs for at-risk, low-income populations; has edited and produced historical audio recordings and anthologies; and has extensive performance, choreography and production experience. Susie holds a Ph.D. in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. She is the editor of The Cost Of Freedom: Voicing A Movement After Kent State 1970; Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: An Anthology of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and Grassroots Leadership & the Arts for Social Change (a volume in ILA’s BLB series). She is the producer/host of Wasn’t That A Time: Stories & Songs That Moved The Nation, a live community radio broadcast on WERA.FM. Listen on-demand or live every Friday from 1:00 – 2:00 PM Eastern time.