The monuments at Pere Lachaise cemetery

I wept Sunday, placing stones at various Holocaust memorials at Paris’s Pere Lachaise. I cried  remembering various survivors I have known, many now deceased: The neighbor up the street, my friends’ parents growing up in Rochester, NY. the math professor  Lipman Bers, who introduced me to multivariable calculus many years ago.  He reminisced in class about the Big Ben-style clock in Prague’s old Jewish ghetto. It ran counter-clockwise in homage to the Jewish tradition.

As human beings and citizens, we have such an obligation to oppose cruelty, discrimination, group hatred, and dehumanizing rhetoric. In every form. Always.



Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect,, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

3 thoughts on “The monuments at Pere Lachaise cemetery”

  1. Bringing up my three children in Alsace, I took them each to the Struthof, up a hill in the Vosges, when I judged them ready, as pre-teens. I don't want to go back a fourth time.

  2. Thank you for bringing back my memories of Lipman Bers. Sweet "Papa" Bers was remarkable for being mathematically creative far beyond the standard age and for mentoring a large number of female students. My main memory of him was the time he was making a complete idiot of himself in order to amuse my baby. The baby eventually became an algebraic geometer so Bers's effort was worthwhile.

    "Mama" Bers was lovely too.

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