U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Fellow to speak at Flagler College

By Marissa Marinan | gargoyle@flagler.edu

For Jennifer Rodgers, who is lecturing about the Holocaust at Flagler on Monday, March 19, being teased by her grandfather in German and French as a child resulted in more than a love of languages.

Rodgers attributes her interest in history to her grandfather, who rarely spoke of his experiences in World War II. His silence, she said, gave her the drive to learn more, immerse herself in history, and share her findings with the world. As a PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, Rodgers has turned an enjoyment for history into a life-long passion.

“I travel and have traveled extensively and being surrounded by so much history has made me want to learn more about it,” Rodgers said.

By the age of 13, Rodgers spoke German daily. In high school, she took German and French. After being a foreign exchange student in Switzerland her junior year, she became fluent. She continued to study the languages through college. Rodgers also has reading ability in Spanish and Dutch.

Rodgers grew up in North East, Pennsylvania.

“I’ve always wanted to get a Ph.D. in history and be a professor,” she said. “I love every aspect of being an academic–teaching, writing and research.”

She received a master’s degree in history from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in German and European studies from American University.

Rodgers, now 35, is a Ben and Zelda Cohen International Tracing Service Fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). Her fellowship lasts nine months. Ben and Zelda Cohen gave USHMM a donation to fund research specifically in the collections of the International Tracing Service at the USHMM in Washington.

Rodgers has had a few other internal fellowships from the University of Pennsylvania, but currently, she is the Annenberg Fellow of History at the University of Pennsylvania in addition to being the Ben and Zelda Cohen Fellow.

“I’ve also had fellowships from the Pew Foundation, the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C., the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University, among others,” Rodgers said.

The research and studying takes Rodgers many different places.

“I kind of split my time between Europe and Washington,” she said. “My research has been in archives in the United States, but also in Germany, France, Switzerland, and England.”

Some of her previous work experience includes being a research intern at the Office of Special Investigation at the Justice Department, positions at the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States, the German Historical Institute and the USHMM. For the USHMM, she worked on the persecution of non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

As part of Rodgers’ fellowships, she travels and gives lectures on various Holocaust-related topics. She will be at Flagler’s Gamache-Koger Theater March 19 at 3:30 p.m. to speak on “The Politics of Holocaust Memory.” The lecture is free and open to the public.

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