In 2010, Heidelberg experienced a rare and poignant program when Mr. Don Behm, Class of 1951, a direct participant in the liberation of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp at the close of World War II, and Holocaust survivor Mr. Jimmy Lichtman shared their incredible stories after being reunited decades after the war. From that event and a similar presentation the following year, the Lichtman-Behm Genocide Lecture Series is now established to remember and honor the survivors and the liberators, not only of the Holocaust but of all incidents of genocide.
The purpose of the lecture series is to bring to light the human tragedy of genocide for the campus, local/area school children and the community at large through special programming.
Each Fall semester, Heidelberg brings to campus guest speakers for a series of presentations to educate the campus and the community about the historic and contemporary incidents of genocide. These educational programs are designed to examine ways to prevent genocide and encourage participants to take an active role in responding to its aftermath.
Ultimately, it is the hope of the Heidelberg community that we will never forget and together, we will work toward a world where these atrocities will not occur.
The lecture series is named The Lichtman-Behm Genocide Lecture Series to honor survivors and liberators of all forms of genocide, such as the Holocaust, and defined as “the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious or national group.” Heidelberg is grateful for a generous gift that endowed this series, made possible by Dr. John R. and Leslie M. (Halstead) Behm, Class of 1976, especially in honor of Don Behm, John's first cousin once removed.
Sadly, with the August 14, 2015, passing of Don Behm, we have now lost both of the founders of this series. We will be forever grateful for their contributions to Heidelberg University and all of those who continue to be inspired by their stories. Indeed, theirs were lives of purpose with distinction.
September 9-10, 2015: George Kronenberg
- 2010: Jimmy Lichtman and Don Behm, Holocaust
- 2011: Jimmy Lichtman, Emery Grossinger, Don Behm, George Sherman, Holocaust
- 2012: Sreng Kim-Chhay and Hoeur Kim, Cambodian Killing Fields
- 2013: Anna Rosmus, Betty Gold and Jill Rembrandt, Holocaust
- 2014: Claude Gatebuke, Rwandan Genocide