NEWPORT NEWS – Christopher Newport University’s largest single-endowed chair will ensure two Holocaust scholars’ study continues even after they retire.
Dr. Theodore Reiff and Anthony Santoro have dedicated their careers to the study of the Holocaust. Santoro described them as “soulmates” when it came to academics, as their interests in medicine and history were aligned.
“We are going to leave,” Santoro said. “There is no doubt about it. And we are determined that the lesson of history will not be lost.
Reiff, a retired doctor, gave the university $1 million to establish a chair in history. Santoro, a distinguished professor of history and president emeritus of the university, will not be the first professor to benefit from this endowment, but he is working to implement it after his retirement. In this way, there is a guaranteed position in a public university on this subject.
Reiff and Santoro were born before World War II, and they remember hearing about the Nazis and Adolf Hitler from family members and when they went to the movies. It was in medical school that Reiff really began to learn about the medical crimes committed during the Holocaust.
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“It’s always interested me to know how doctors can allow themselves to be subverted by government and the environment in which they live,” Reiff said of his research. “And I thought it was important to study, so I got involved. And then I had a lot of patients who were survivors of Auschwitz-Birkenau, which was a death camp.
The stories he and Santoro have to share about the survivors, the Nazis and those who fought against them tell a detailed and focused account of the Holocaust – one that many would never hear about had it not been for their efforts to teach it.
In addition to endowing this chair, Reiff is also the benefactor of the Reiff Center for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution, a center within the university that promotes awareness of the horrors of genocide and human rights violations. the man. He is also the founding chair of the National Genocide Education Project, according to a university press release.
According to the CNU website, Santoro is currently chairman of the National Genocide Education Project and chairman of the advisory board for the Reiff Center.
After Santoro retires, the university will conduct a nationwide search for a senior scholar to continue studying the Holocaust and sharing lessons that can be learned from that time.
“We are deeply grateful for the extraordinary generosity of Dr. Reiff and the leadership of President Santoro,” former CNU President Paul Trible said in a statement. “The Reiff Center and the Reiff-Santoro Chair will ensure that the study of human rights and the horrors of National Socialist Germany and the Holocaust will always be important to Christopher Newport.”
Kelsey Kendall, [email protected]