Nobel Laureate to Give Holocaust Lecture at Ithaca College

By David Maley, October 12, 2017

Nobel Laureate to Give Holocaust Lecture at Ithaca College

Nobel laureate Roald Hoffman will present the annual Holocaust lecture — titled “Returning, Remembering, Forgiving ”— at Ithaca College on Monday, Oct. 23. Free and open to the public, his 7:30 p.m. talk on the Holocaust in the Ukraine will be held in Clark Lounge, Campus Center.

Now an emeritus professor at Cornell University, Hoffman was awarded the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry — along with Kenichi Fukui — for their theories, developed independently, concerning the course of chemical reactions.

Hoffmann was born in 1937 to a Jewish family in Złoczów, Poland (now Zolochiv, Ukraine). Only 200 out of the 4,000 Jews who lived in the city survived the Nazi genocide during World War II, and his talk will recount how the personal goodness of a Ukrainian family played an essential role in his family living through the Holocaust. Hoffmann will speak of the complexity of Ukrainian-Jewish relations, the role in the war of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the struggle to establish memorials in Zolochiv and surroundings. His story is ultimately about the choices for good or evil that people must make in the worst of times.

After the war, Hoffman came to the U. S. in 1949 and studied chemistry at Columbia and Harvard Universities. He joined the Cornell faculty in 1965 and enjoyed a distinguished teaching and research career. He is now the Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters Emeritus.

An accomplished poet and playwright, Hoffman has also published books on the connections between art and science. He has hosted a monthly cabaret series, “Entertaining Science,” at New York City’s Cornelia Street Café.

Hoffman’s lecture is sponsored by the Jewish studies program at Ithaca College. For more information contact Rebecca Lesses, associate professor and coordinator of Jewish studies, at