Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Yitzchak Kerem

Dear Marcie and Colleagues,
I convey my deepest sympathies on the passing of our dear colleague and mentor Dr. Franklin H. Littell. Not only is his contribution to Holocaust studies, education, and commemoration unprecedented and unique, similar was his activity in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue, study, and understanding.

We will all remember Franklin for his keen intellect, deep understanding of human nature and evil, and for his unique character. His Texan sayings, slang, proverbs, and style were entertaining and unforgettable. His cosmopolitan and multi-religious personality was similarly fascinating and rare. His devotion to Holocaust education and Gentile responsibility merits the utmost admiration and respect. He succeeded in bring together peoples of diverse disciplines and faiths to study the lessons of the Holocaust (Shoa) and also not forget other genocides and conflicts. He was a pioneer in seeing Christian/Gentile responsibility for the Shoa and bringing Jews and Gentiles together for understanding, and education.

Franklin also highlighted the Righteous in the Holocaust; especially in the Germany that he knew in the 1930s, and WWII, tried to enter the
Eastern Orthodox churches and Islam into our dialogue on the Holocaust and responsibility, and made great efforts to expand the dialogue in the general public, in school systems, and media.  

Franklin was a mentsch of the first degree, extremely friendly and personable to all he met, and a good friend and colleague.

These words are an understatement for a great man, who has left a valuable legacy.
I console Marcie in her time of mourning and am hopeful that we will all continue the work Franklin began and devoted his life, and advance the study of the Holocaust and the Churches even in these difficult financial times.

Shalom and may Franklin Littell's memory live on.

Yitzchak Kerem
Historian on Sephardic and Eastern Jewry and the Holocaust
on sabbatical
American Jewish University of Los Angeles ykerem@ajula.edu ykerem1@ca.rr.com

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