UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
8TH ANNUAL FORD HONORS PROGRAM
The dilemma has been studied in
considerable depth by Robert Lifson,
visiting professor of psychiatry at
Harvard and a pioneer in analyzing the
psychological dimensions of history.
"Hitler symbolizes pure evil and we
would be more comfortable thinking
of him as a non-human being," said
Lifson. "Indeed, anything we perceive
as absolute evil engages and fascinates
us. To some, such as neo-Nazis, this
even appeals to their own sadistic and
In analyzing Hitler, or Nazi doctors
accused of war crimes, Lifson finds that
he has to maintain a delicate balance.
While probing the psychological roots
of Hitler's evil genius, he said, "We must
not for a moment suspend our moral
judgment. That would be very wrong." 111
role in my own assessment.
For example, when I saw The
Pianist for the first time at the
Cannes Film Festival last year, I was
a touch disappointed, having expect-
ed Polanski's latest film to manifest
his traditional edginess (from films
like Rosemary's Baby and Chirwtown).
But when I saw it for the second
time with my mother, a survivor of
Auschwitz, her profound appreciation
for its understated authenticity made
me revise my own response. The
Pianist ended up on my 1 0-best list.
JN: How do you respond to people
who say that the Holocaust should
be beyond any jokes, such as the
ones in The Producers?
AI: I am leery of self-appointed
defenders of Holocaust imagery. While
there is a special responsibility in deal-
ing with a subject as emotionally
fraught as the Holocaust, black humor
can be a liberating tool in creating
awareness and ultimately sensitivity.
JN: Did working on these films
have any effect on the way you
practice or think about Judaism?
Al: My Judaism has only deepened
since I began working on Indelible
Shadows in 1979. I see the vulnera-
. bilk), of Judaism as well as its ongo-
ing strength as a source of humanist
JN: What do you see as the newest
trend in films about the Holocaust?
Al: Documentaries of return, in
which children or grandchildren of
survivors return with a camera to the
scene of the crime and/or rescue.
Among the fine examples is The
Optimists, about the Bulgarians who
saved their Jewish neighbors. 
Saturday, May 3, 6 P.M.
Rackham Auditorium &
Power Center • Ann Arbor
Mr. Parkening will perform an abbreviated recital
of guitar masterpieces from the 20th century,
followed by a UMS tribute to his career,
with video footage, interviews, and special guests.
"Christopher Parkening is
a great artist—one of the
most brilliant guitarists in
the world." Andres Segovia
The Ford Honors Program is made possible by Ford Motor Company
All proceeds benefit the UMS Education
and Audience Development Program.
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