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News Release

University of Minnesota professor Stephen Feinstein dies at 65

Media Note: A photo can be downloaded here:

Photo of Stephen Feinstein available on request.

Contacts: Mark Cassutt, University News Service, (612) 624-8038

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (03/06/2008) —Stephen Feinstein, the director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS) and adjunct professor of history at the University of Minnesota, died suddenly on Tuesday, March 4. He was 65.

Feinstein joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 1997, serving first as the acting director of the CHGS and then being named director two years later.

From its founding in 1997, Feinstein built the university’s CHGS into a premier educational, research and outreach institution that has an international reputation for excellence. From its very beginning, he ensured that CHGS engaged with a broad range of crimes against humanity and human rights issues in addition to the Holocaust.

Feinstein was known around the world as an advocate for Holocaust survivors and genocide education, and in particular, for his expertise on artistic expression and genocide. He trained Polish teachers on Holocaust education, spoke at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and frequently commented in the media on anything Holocaust- and genocide-related. Educators, scholars and survivors from around the world have been deeply influenced by Feinstein and are sending messages of condolence to his family and to the university.

Most recently Feinstein was instrumental in securing funding for and creating programming around the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum exhibition "Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race," currently showing at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

In addition to his CHGS responsibilities and activities, Feinstein served as an art consultant and guest curator for numerous museums, universities and art galleries in Minnesota, Florida, New York and Washington, D.C.

Prior to teaching at the University of Minnesota, Feinstein spent 30 years on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin - River Falls where he most recently served as the chair of the history department. Feinstein received his doctoral degree in Russian and European history from New York University in 1971. He earned an undergraduate degree in economics from Villanova University in 1964.

“Steve was a good friend as well as a colleague, and the news is devastating,” said Eric Weitz, chair of the University of Minnesota department of history. “He had an amazingly generous nature and could get things accomplished that no one had ever conceived or thought was possible. He was generous, humorous and deeply committed to the issues at the heart CHGS’s mission. More than anything else, he was a great humanitarian who believed that knowledge of the past could prevent atrocities in the future.”

Feinstein is survived by his wife Sue, two children, Jeremy and Rebecca, and two grandchildren. Funeral services for Feinstein will at 2 p.m. Friday, March 7, at Beth-El Synagogue, 5224 West 26th St., St. Louis Park, Minn.

Tags: College of Liberal Arts

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