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Maya Reter wins the Jill Stacey Harris undergraduate essay prize

May 17, 2023

The Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies is pleased to award this year’s Jill Stacey Harris Prize in Jewish Studies to Maya Reter.  Reter highlights the importance of terminology during the Holocaust and in postwar and later trials of (neo-) Nazis in her excellent paper titled “Words on Trial: the Integral Role of Linguistic Analysis in Trials of Nazis and Neo-Nazis” written for Professor Frommer’s Holocaust Trials course.  The deliberate use of euphemisms with regard to mass atrocity served not only to obscure Nazi crimes as they occurred, but also to deflect responsibility in the immediate postwar and beyond. Challenging semantics and translations created space for Nazi defendants and Holocaust deniers to sow doubt about the Holocaust itself. Reter made a pointed and well-constructed argument that went beyond those of the authors she cited. She garnered evidence from primary and secondary sources to support her position. In addition, Reter engaged her readers with a cogent and thought-provoking narrative.

The Jill Stacey Harris Prize in Jewish Studies has been awarded annually since 1991 for the best undergraduate essay in the field of Jewish Studies. Student papers are nominated by the faculty in Jewish Studies and an independent committee evaluates and judges the nominated submissions.