- In Memoriam:Dr. Sidney M. Bolkosky
The editors and staff of Holocaust and Genocide Studies note with sadness the passing of Dr. Sidney M. Bolkosky, a major contributor to research on Holocaust survivor testimony, after a long battle with cancer.
Dr. Bolkosky was a distinguished professor at the University of Michigan–Dearborn. He joined the social sciences faculty in 1972, and was promoted to associate professor in 1977 and professor in 1984. He became the first William E. Stirton Professor in the Social Sciences in 1999.
Bolkosky published more than twenty scholarly books and articles, including The Distorted Image: German-Jewish Perceptions of Germans and Germany, 1920–1935 (1975), “Voices of Anne Frank,” (1997), “Voices, Visions and Silence: Reflections on Listening to Holocaust Survivors” (1999), and Searching for Meaning in the Holocaust (2002).
In 1981, Bolkosky undertook the major project of interviewing survivors for the Holocaust Memorial Center of Detroit. As the collection grew to include more than 300 interviews, it evolved into the Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive at the University of Michigan–Dearborn. The archive was officially established in 1993 and Bolkosky served as its director until his retirement in April 2012. Since its founding, more than four million people have accessed the archives online. Copies of interviews and transcripts have been sent to the Fortunoff Video Archives at Yale University and to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
Bolkosky worked closely with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum from its early years. In 1993, as a result of his work with the Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive, he was invited to serve as a consultant for the film Testimony, a major part of the permanent exhibition at the USHMM. He also served as a consultant and trainer for the Steven Spielberg Foundation Visual History Project. In 1986, Bolkosky and two colleagues produced A Holocaust Curriculum: Life Unworthy of Life, a widely used, eighteen-lesson program for high school students.
Bolkosky was an inspiring and accomplished teacher and researcher. He was one of a select few to have received all three of UM–Dearborn’s major faculty awards: the UM–Dearborn Distinguished Teaching Award (1975), the UM–Dearborn Distinguished Faculty Research Award (1995) and the UM–Dearborn Distinguished Service Award (2002).
Bolkosky is survived by his wife of 48 years, Lorraine; their two children, Gabriel Bolkosky and Miriam Wright (son-in-law Benjamin Wright); and two grandchildren, Samuel and Ethan. [End Page 560]