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Students meet creator of Holocaust Museum's Tower of Life

Yaffa Eliach, creator of the Tower of Life, which millions of visitors have described as the most moving exhibit at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., visited Whitman in September.

She represents a lengthy list of guests scholars, writers, artists, musicians, and scientists who brought their wide knowledge and experience to Whitman during the fall semester. Another leading figure on that list is Mark Doty, one of America's most acclaimed poets.

A pioneering scholar in Holocaust studies, Eliach gave a slide illustrated talk on the Tower of Life and presented a lecture titled "Restoring a Vanished Past: There Once Was a World."

She was a National Book Award finalist in 1998 for her nonfiction work, There Once Was a World: A 900-Year Chronicle of the Shtetl of Eishyshok. A professor of history and literature in the Department of Judaic Studies at Brooklyn College, Eliach also is the author of the international classic, Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust.

Mark Doty's poetry collections include My Alexandria, which won the 1993 National Book Critics Circle Award, Britain's T. S. Eliot Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. The others, Atlantis (1995) and Sweet Machine (1998), both were named Notable Book of the Year by the American Library Association.

Doty also is the author of the 1996 memoir, Heaven's Coast, which won the PEN Martha Albrand Award for Nonfiction and was named Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review, which described it as "a terrifying and elegant document of the age of AIDS."

Doty's presentation was part of the College's Visiting Writers Series, which is sponsored in part by the Mabel Groseclose Lectureship fund.