Dr. William Meinecke, Jr., State Bar of Arizona Convention, June 19, 2013.

Dr. William Meinecke, Jr., State Bar of Arizona Convention, June 19, 2013.

We hear too often the true statement that we may be doomed to repeat the unlearned lessons of history. But an upcoming program at the State Bar, on Thursday, April 16, may provide tools and insights to avoid that trap of amnesia.

Titled Lessons From the Holocaust,” its speaker is Dr. William Meinecke, a historian for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s leadership development programs. He also wrote Nazi Ideology and the Holocaust (2007).

I covered Dr. Meinecke’s appearance at a previous State Bar Convention here.

Here is information from the Bar about the April 16 event:

“The Holocaust is much more than an unspeakable horror from WWII or a chapter in a history book. The study of the Holocaust provides important insight into the consequences when the mission of the police, judiciary, and the legal profession is transformed from protecting the rights of individuals to actively abusing basic human civil rights. Using legal decrees, judicial opinions, and case law of the period, participants study the role of these professions in the destruction of democracy and the establishment of the Nazi German state.”

“Participants are challenged to examine their own roles and responsibilities as members of professions that hold the public trust, protect society, and influence the health of our democracy by studying the decision making, the opportunities, and often the failures of their counterparts in Nazi Germany that helped lead to mass murder.”

The event has become popular enough that an overflow room is being filled. More information and registration information are here.

More about the Museum is here.

Paired with the event will be the display of an information-filled poster series, on loan from the American Bar Association and the German Federal Bar. The gripping series is titled “Lawyers Without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany Under the Third Reich,” and it will be available for viewing in the State Bar member lounge on Monday through Thursday in the week of April 13. (Registration for the Holocaust CLE event is not required to view the posters.) I have just received background material on this amazing project, and I will provide more detail on it as soon as I know more.

The following photo is taken from the project.

Munich lawyer Dr. Michael Siegel marched by the police through the city's streets after complaining about the treatment of a client. (Photo from German Federal Bar and American Bar Association.)

Munich lawyer Dr. Michael Siegel marched by the police through the city’s streets after complaining about the treatment of a client. (Photo from German Federal Bar and American Bar Association.)

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Honoree Sheila Polk, and Museum Director Sara J. Bloomfield (PHOTO: Miriam Lomaskin/U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum)

This past weekend, an Arizona lawyer was honored for her commitment to service. I wrote previously about Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, recognized by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. And on Sunday, February 27, she was joined by hundreds of attendees who praised her commitment to education and justice.

Congratulations again to County Attorney Polk. Here is the story:

More Than 400 of Phoenix Community Attend United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Phoenix Tribute Dinner Honoring Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk

Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey Delivered Keynote Address

Phoenix, Holocaust Survivor and Presidential Medal of Honor Recipient Gerda Weissmann Klein Also Made Remarks

WHAT: More than 400 individuals from the Phoenix community supported the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum by attending its 2011 Phoenix Tribute Dinner, honoring Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk for her work in bringing the Museum’s leadership training programs for members of the judiciary to Arizona.

Through her initiative, more than 2,000 Arizona judges, prosecutors and members of the state judiciary have participated in the Museum’s “Law, Justice, and the Holocaust” program, which examines how the judiciary in Nazi Germany helped facilitate persecution and mass murder as well as the implications this history bears for the judicial system today. The dinner was held on Sunday, February 27 at The Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.

Justice Ruth V. McGregor introducing honoree Sheila Polk (PHOTO: Miriam Lomaskin/U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum)

In December 2008, then-U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, on behalf of the Justice Department, donated to the Museum copies of trial transcripts and decisions created in connection with the Department’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (formerly the Office of Special Investigations, or OSI).

Event co-chairs were Amy and Andrew Cohn and Suzanne and Steve Hilton, both of Scottsdale. Honorary chairs were Susan and Bill Levine of Paradise Valley. Mr. Levine is also a member of the Museum’s governing council.

WHO: Honoree Sheila Polk, Yavapai County Attorney

  • Former Arizona Chief Justice Ruth V. McGregor
  • Sara J. Bloomfield, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Director
  • Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Keynote Speaker
  • Gerda Weissmann Klein, Holocaust survivor and recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom

WHEN: Sunday, February 27, 2011, 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: The Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Ariz.