Comet Calendar

This event is presented free of charge in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas.
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Military historian John C. McManus sheds new light on this often-overlooked aspect of the Holocaust. Drawing on a rich blend of archival sources and thousands of firsthand accountsincluding unit journals, interviews, oral histories, memoirs, diaries, letters, and published recollections Hell Before Their Very Eyes focuses on the experiences of the soldiers who liberated or witnessed Ohrdruf, Buchenwald, and Dachau and their determination to bear witness to this horrific history.

On April 4, 1945, United States Army units from the 89th Infantry Division and the 4th Armored Division seized Ohrdruf, the first of many Nazi concentration camps to be liberated in Germany. In the weeks that followed, as more camps were discovered, thousands of soldiers came face to face with the monstrous reality of Hitler’s Germany.

These men discovered the very depths of human-imposed cruelty and depravity: railroad cars stacked with emaciated, lifeless bodies; ovens full of incinerated human remains; warehouses filled with stolen shoes, clothes, luggage, and even eyeglasses; prison yards littered with implements of torture and dead bodies; andperhaps most disturbing of allthe half-dead survivors of the camps. For the American soldiers of all ranks who witnessed such powerful evidence of Nazi crimes, the experience was life-altering. Almost all were haunted for the rest of their lives by what they had seen, horrified that humans from ostensibly civilized societies were capable of such crimes.

John C. McManus is Curators’ Distinguished Professor of U.S. military history at the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T). This professorship is bestowed by the University of Missouri Board of Curators on the most outstanding scholars in the University of Missouri system. McManus is the first ever Missouri S&T faculty member in the humanities to be named Curators’ Distinguished Professor. As one of the nation’s leading military historians, and the author of fifteen well received books on the topic, he is in frequent demand as a speaker and expert commentator. In addition to dozens of local and national radio programs, he has appeared on cnn.com, Fox News, C-Span, the Military Channel, the Discovery Channel, the National Geographic Channel, Netflix, the Smithsonian Network, the History Channel and PBS, among others. He also served as historical advisor for the bestselling book and documentary Salinger, the latter of which appeared nationwide in theaters and on PBS’s American Masters Series. During the 2018-2019 academic year, he was in residence at the U.S. Naval Academy as the Leo A. Shifrin Chair of Naval and Military History, a distinguished visiting professorship. His current project is a major three volume history of the U.S. Army in the Pacific/Asia theater during World War II. He is the host of two podcasts, Someone Talked! in tandem with the National D-Day Memorial, and We Have Ways of Making You Talk in the USA alongside Al Murray and James Holland. 

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Erik Jonsson Academic Center (JO), Performance Hall
800 W. Campbell Road, Richardson, Texas 75080-3021

The Ackerman Center
Cynthia Seton-Rogers
Email
9728832100

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