JGSLA 2010: Daniel Mendelsohn, keynote speaker

Researching and interviewing living relatives is a matter of urgency, according to author Daniel Mendelsohn, a genealogist from a “tender young age.”

Author of the international bestseller, “The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million,” he will be the keynote speaker at the opening session (Sunday, July 11, 7.30pm) for the 30th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, July 11-16, in Los Angeles. Registration is now open; see all conference details at JGSLA 2010.

According to Mendelsohn,

“Once a person has died it doesn’t matter if the space that separates us from knowing them is 12 years or 12 minutes, a second or a century. The closest we can get is to know those who were close to them. Then those who were close to them start to die and we get that much further.”

His ground-breaking genealogical memoir concerned his exacting search for six members of his family from Bolechow who perished in the Holocaust. He is the founder of the Bolechow Jewish Heritage Society.

According to conference co-chair Pamela Weisberger, the topic of his address is not yet known, but Tracing the Tribe will announce it as soon as it is confirmed. Whatever Mendelsohn chooses to speak on will be fascinating; those who have heard him previously can attest to that.

An international best seller, “The Lost” has received rave reviews and many awards, such as the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Jewish Book Award; and been praised by such as Elie Wiesel. The French translation (“Les Disparus”) was a 2007 best seller, called “the masterpiece of the season. It has been translated into a dozen additional languages.

He also writes book, film and theatre reviews and essays on literary topics for The New Yorker and The New York Times Book Review, as well as being a contributing editor at Travel + Leisure. He has authored six books to date.

Mendelsohn’s honors include: 2005 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship; 2008, Richard Holbrooke Distinguished Visitor, American Academy, Berlin. Later this month, he will be Critic in Residence at the American Academy, Rome.

Read more about Mendelsohn here.

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