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Arts Alive! series to bring renowned Holocaust speaker to WVWC on March 23

BUCKHANNON, West Virginia – West Virginia Wesleyan College’s Arts Alive Series will welcome Dr. Wesley Fisher to speak on “The Holocaust and Cultural Genocide” Thursday, March 23 at 7 p.m. in the Greek Alumni Room of the Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts. This event is free and open to the community.

Fisher is Director of Research for both the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) and the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO). He heads the Claims Conference-WJRO Looted Art and Cultural Property Initiative which works with governments, museums, libraries, archives and other repositories of artworks and Judaica in cooperation with Jewish communities to encourage provenance research and claims processes worldwide.

He has created projects to make the records of the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR), the largest of the Nazi agencies confiscating Jewish cultural property, accessible and searchable, and is a founder of the Jewish Digital Cultural Recovery Project, which strives to create a comprehensive archivally-based listing of Jewish-owned cultural objects plundered by the Nazis and their allies from the time of their spoliation to the present. He assisted the Czech Republic with the organization of the Holocaust-Era Assets Conference held in Prague in 2009 and the establishment of the European Shoah Legacy Institute (ESLI) and the administration of its Provenance Research Training Program.

Previously a senior member of the founding staff of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), he was Deputy Director of the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets in 1998 and, at the request of then Deputy Treasury Secretary Stuart Eizenstat, assisted the Government of Lithuania and the Council of Europe with the organization of the Vilnius International Forum on Holocaust-Era Looted Cultural Assets in 2000.

He helped create the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (now the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – IHRA) begun at the initiative of then Prime Minister Persson of Sweden.

Prior to that, from the 1970’s to the early 1990’s he was the administrator of all scholarly exchanges, joint research and conferences between the United States and the former Soviet Union in the humanities and social sciences, including relations between the archives and libraries of the two countries and in art history (during the Cold War there was a consortium of 132 U.S. universities and an artificial centralization of scholarship to match the centralized Soviet system).

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