WASHINGTON (JTA) – Georgetown University will create a permanent program on the forensic study of the Holocaust using a new $10 million gift.
The donation to the Washington, D.C., school is from Norman and Irma Braman, a Florida couple who have made large gifts to other universities and hospitals. Norman Braman is founding chairman of the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach, and the couple is active with Yad Vashem in Israel and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
The Braman Endowed Program Fund will support teaching, research and field study for Georgetown faculty and students and fund the development of a new public outreach program with the aim of preventing future Holocausts. The money will fund an endowed professorship as well as research and public service programs on the Holocaust.
“This gift will ensure that the study of the Holocaust remains an integral area of study and scholarship at Georgetown,” the Jesuit and Catholic university’s president, John DeGioia, said in a statement issued Wednesday.
The Rev. Patrick Desbois, a historian, was named the first holder of the Braman Endowed Professorship of the Practice of the Forensic Study of the Holocaust. A Roman Catholic priest from France, Desbois was instrumental in bringing the Bramans’ gift to Georgetown.
“I have decided to make this gift, now, and to Georgetown, in part as a sign of my appreciation for the leadership of Pope Francis and the priority he so clearly attaches to fostering closer relations between Jews and Catholics,” Norman Braman said in the university statement.
Georgetown also announced that as of Feb. 29, its Program for Jewish Civilization will be renamed the Center for Jewish Civilization.
The center will teach many aspects of the Holocaust, including its causes and consequences, its role in the establishment of the modern State of Israel, its continuing impact on modern Judaism, anti-Semitism and questions of Israel’s legitimacy.
The Program for Jewish Civilization, which opened in 2003, has received gifts totaling $10 million from more than 500 alumni and friends to ensure it would be permanently endowed.