Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Aaron Hass will headline Colorado State University’s Holocaust Awareness Week March 31 with a keynote address titled, "How Ordinary People Can Commit Extraordinary Evil."
The talk, free and open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. in the Lory Student Center North Ballroom on campus. A reception and booksigning will follow. Hass, a professor of psychology at California State University and an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, recorded the stories and memories of the children of survivors in his Pulitzer-nominated book, "In the Shadow of the Holocaust: The Second Generation." Hass’ book, "Aftermath: Living with the Holocaust," was co-finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. His most recent book, "Doing the Right Thing: Cultivating Your Moral Intelligence," was a finalist for the Books for a Better Life Award.
A child of Holocaust survivors, Hass’ lecture will explore the propensities to prejudice, discrimination and murder that reside within humankind. His talk will examine the conditions under which the veneer of civility can vanish.
"The important question here is how individuals can inflict such pain and suffering with a clear conscience," said Hass.
Earlier that day at 2 p.m. in Room 228 of the Lory Student Center, Hass will lead a discussion co-sponsored by PSI CHI psychology club. The talk will focus on how Holocaust survivors have fared in their post-war lives and how the events of Sept. 11 have affected them.
"A psychologist looks at the Holocaust and asks how it is that most people recover from suffering to lead a relatively normal life, even after massive trauma," said Hass.
Hass has been a visiting professor at Tel-Aviv University, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany.