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I Bore Witness: Erich Franzen

Nine black and white portraits of the alumni and faculty featured in the exhibition Bearing Witness. Erich Franzen's image is outlined in blue with the text - Erich Franzen. 1892 - 1961. Political refugee and assistant professor of sociology. Miami University. 1940 - 1942.

Erich Franzen (1892-1961)

Political Refugee, Germany

Assistant Professor of Sociology, Miami University, 1940-1942


Erich Franzen was a well-known German literary critic and sociologist from Ems, Germany. He wrote for several progressive periodicals including Die Weltbühne, a radical publication that was banned by the Nazis in March 1933. An avowed antifascist, Franzen fled Germany in 1934 and emigrated to the U.S. with the assistance of the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars. The Emergency Committee was established in 1933 to counteract the strict immigration laws of the Roosevelt administration by arranging placements in American universities for the most eminent German scholars fleeing political repression. Of the 6000 scholars who applied for aid through the committee only 6% were selected. Notably, Franzen was one of only two scholars from the field of “Letters” that the Emergency Committee placed. The other was Thomas Mann. Franzen taught sociology at Southern Illinois Normal University and later at Miami University from 1940-1942. During his time at Miami he gave several talks about his experience in Nazi Germany, before taking a leave of absence to work for the U.S. Office of War Information in July 1942.


Franzen’s story is one of ten extraordinary personal journeys of Miami alumni and faculty told in the exhibition, Bearing Witness: The Holocaust and Jewish Experience at Miami University, co-hosted by the Walter Havighurst Special Collections & University Archives and Hillel at Miami University.

Three images of correspondence are side by side. 1. Letter from the Institute of International Education to President Upham, 1940. 2. Western Union telegraph from Erich Franzen to President Upham, 1940. 3. Letter from Erich Franzen to President Upham, 1942


  1. Photograph of Erich Franzen, Photo credit: Erica Loos

  2. Letter from the Institute of International Education to President Upham, 1940

  3. Western Union telegraph from Erich Franzen to President Upham, 1940

  4. Letter from Erich Franzen to President Upham, 1942 

Images 2, 3 and 4 Courtesy of the Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives


I Bore Witness: Robert Behr

Nine black and white portraits of the alumni and faculty featured in the exhibition Bearing Witness. Robert Behr's image is outlined in blue with the text "Robert Behr (1922 - 2018). Holocaust survivor & Nazi interrogator. Miami University class of 1967.

Robert Behr (1922—2018) 

Holocaust Survivor & Nazi Interrogator Berlin, Germany

B.A. in Modern European History Miami University, Class of 1967

Robert Behr was born in Berlin, Germany on March 1, 1922 into a middle-class Jewish family. His parents, Alfred and Lilly Behr, divorced when he was young and his mother remarried Dr. Alfred Hamburger. Their lives changed dramatically with the passing of the Nuremberg Race Laws in September 1935, which stripped German Jews of their citizenship and required them to carry identity papers. Alfred Behr was arrested during Kristallnacht on November 9, 1938 and sent to Buchenwald although he was quickly released. Lilly, Robert, and Alfred Hamburger were not so lucky. In 1942, they were arrested and sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia, where they worked in deteriorating conditions until May 5, 1945, when the family was liberated by the Soviet Army. In 1947, Robert immigrated to the United States and enlisted in the army. He returned to Berlin to interrogate former Nazis and care for his mother. Robert eventually settled in Dayton, Ohio after leaving the Army in 1952 and joined the United States Air Force civil service as an intelligence officer. He graduated from Miami University in 1967.

Three photos of from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Robert Behr. Left to right: 1. Robert Behr (a German Jewish survivor who later joined the US Army) and another American soldier pose outside the German-American Youth Club. After joining the US Army Robert Behr was tasked to run a German youth club to teach democratic values. 2. A young Robert Behr circa 1926-1929 sits on a log in front of two lion cubs at the Berlin petting zoo. 3. Robert Behr sits next to his mother at a table on an outdoor balcony in Berlin circa 1947-1950.




Expert Carla Myers writes on fair use for Harvard University

Fair Use Week - Guest Expert Carla Myers

by Shawn Vanness, communications specialist 

Miami University Libraries' Carla Myers, coordinator of scholarly communication, was recently featured by Harvard University as a guest expert for Fair Use Week, writing on Fair Use and Video Streaming. Myers helps faculty and staff navigate the complicated system of  U.S. copyright law. In September she will coordinate the annual Copyright Conference. This year the conference invites the new and experienced to join the conversation on “Becoming a Copyright Librarian”. 

Fair Use Week runs from Feb. 24-28, 2020 and celebrates best practices in fair use in academics. Myers’ piece on video streaming examines four factors that determine if content is considered fair use, and gives real-world examples of how films are used in-class instruction. Myers is available to consult on issues of video streaming to faculty, staff or students in person at King Library or by email.

Other guest experts for Fair Use Week include Brandon Butler from the University of Virginia and Kenneth D. Crews, a former professor of law at Columbia University. Tomorrow's post will be by Dave Hansen, director of copyright of scholarly communication for the Duke University Libraries.


Registration now open for the Miami University Digital Humanities Forum

Out of an abundance of caution and in following the recommendations of President Crawford, Governor DeWine, and state public health officials to minimize non-essential group gatherings, the Miami University Digital Humanities Forum​ has been postponed. We sincerely appreciate your understanding as we take steps to ensure the continued wellbeing of all our Miami community.


Miami University Digital Humanities Forum

by Mark Dahlquist, humanities and social sciences librarian

On Monday, April 6, the Miami University Libraries and the Humanities Center will welcome Miami faculty, students and staff from across academic disciplines to the Miami University Digital Humanities Forum. 

Participants will join in conversation over breakfast and lunch, and engage in a series of workshops and conversations about digital humanities at Miami. No prior experience with digital humanities is required to register, and those curious about digital methodologies are encouraged to attend.

 Visit the event homepage


8:30 Breakfast

9:00 Hands-on introductory DH workshops on text and network analysis

10:00 Research in the Digital Humanities:

  • James Bielo (anthropology), “Collaboration and Creativity in Faculty-Student Research:  Reflections from Materializing the Bible”
  • Alyssa Fisher (media, journalism and film), “Commenting on Comments: Placing Topic Modelling and Relational Dialectics in Conversation on YouTube”
  • Collin Jennings (English), "At One View: Comprehensive Perspectives in Old and New Media"
  • Yuridia Ramírez (global and intercultural studies),  “Digital Humanities as Inclusive Scholarship and Public History”

11:00 Teaching and the Digital Humanities

  • Philippe Giabbanelli (computer science and software engineering), "Collaborations in Machine Learning and Digital Humanities"
  • Tim Lockridge (English), “Process Without Products: Writing Technologies, Difficult Tools, and Knowledge Work”
  • Jessica McCarty (geography), “Digitizing the Anthropocene”
  • Adam Strantz (English), "Data Visualization as Inquiry/Invention in the Digital Humanities"

12:00 Lunch/discussion


Fifth-annual LAURE now accepting submissions for 2020 award

LAURE - Libraries Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence

By Shawn Vanness, communications specialist

Submissions are now open for the Miami University Libraries Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence (LAURE). The LAURE recognizes and rewards students for their research conducted using library resources. This year, students are eligible to win a cash prize of $950 for first place or $300 for second place.

The submission deadline is March 15.  Entries require an essay detailing the student’s research strategies and use of library tools, resources, and services. Submission of a bibliography and project files are also required. A committee of faculty, librarians, and staff evaluate the submissions.

Students who have a research project they are working on as part of a credit-bearing course are eligible to apply. Faculty are encouraged to invite students to apply. Non-traditional research projects such as digital scholarship or maker projects are also welcome.


Ellen Strenstrom ‘19 won first prize in the LAURE last year, earning her a cash prize from the Libraries and recognition from the President and Provost at the Undergraduate Research Forum. Int he video above, Ellen talks about her process of using library resources in writing her LAURE submission. Her essay, “Reconsidering the Unreliability and Treatment of Mentally Ill Narrators” — along with all the essays from previous award winners — can be found on the Miami University Scholarly Commons part of the Undergraduate Sponsored Research and Scholarship Collection.

To learn more about the award, review the submission process, and read previous winning essays, visit the University Libraries’ LAURE webpage. The LAURE committee is happy to answer any questions about the application process, provide support in writing the essay or with submitting files. Please reach out to the committee at LAURE@miamiOH.edu


Library Games Nights open to all

Out of an abundance of caution and in following the recommendations of President Crawford, Governor DeWine, and state public health officials to minimize non-essential group gatherings, Games Nights have been cancelled. We sincerely appreciate your understanding as we take steps to ensure the continued wellbeing of all our Miami community.


By Shawn Vanness, communications specialist 

Games! Snacks! Prizes! The very popular Library Games Nights are back for spring semester and open to all. 

  • Saturday, Feb. 8 • 6-11 p.m. • King Library

  • Saturday, Mar. 7 • 6-10 p.m. • B.E.S.T. Library (Laws Hall)

  • Saturday, Apr. 4 • 6-10 p.m. • Wertz Art & Architecture Library (Alumni Hall)

  • Saturday, May 2 • 6-11 p.m. • King Library

Library Games Nights are a series of four evenings that rotate between the different library locations on campus. This event welcomes the Oxford community as well as Miami students, faculty, staff and their families. 

No other place on campus

"Library Games Nights are incredibly receptive to everyone,” said Oliver Miller ‘21,  mechanical engineering student and president of the Strategy Gaming Club student organization. Miller continued to describe the games night as welcoming “regardless of your board game experience. There is no other place on campus where students, faculty, and families from the Oxford area all come together to share a mutual love for something like board games.”

Find a Favorite 

With over a hundred games available, there is sure to be something for every participant. There will always be family games like Clue, Guess Who and Battleship. Student favorites include games like Splendor, Exploding Kittens and Ticket to Ride. Librarians have come to love Wingspan and Blood Rage. The games are provided through the Libraries’ games collection, which is available for checkout in the Instructional Materials Center (IMC) in King Library. 

Old Friends and New Friends

Starting in February, the Libraries will host one Games Night each month of the spring semester. Miller suggests, “if you get the opportunity, ask a few friends and check it out. You may end up finding a new passion and making lots of new friends, like I have!"


Freedom Summer archives central to Black History Month lecture

By Shawn Vanness, communications specialist 

The University Libraries will welcome assistant professor Stephanie Danker for a talk commemorating Black History Month on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at noon in King 320. Danker’s lecture, entitled Art and Activism: Looking Closer at Historical Documentary Photographs and Contemporary Images, uses the University Libraries’ Freedom Summer Text & Photo Archive to examine artists’ responses to the civil rights movement.

Freedom Summer Archive

The Freedom Summer Text & Photo Archive is a collection of newspaper clippings, correspondence, photographs, and other materials available online to the public. Created in 2009 with a grant from the Ohio Humanities Council, the archive documents this significant part of history during which the Freedom Summer Project organized voter registration of African Americans in the southern states. Also known as the Mississippi Summer Project of 1964, the movement was a collaboration of the Congress of Federated Organizations (COFO], Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the National Council of Churches. The students held orientation sessions on the campus of the former Western College for Women, which merged with Miami University in 1974.

Art and Activism

Danker’s lecture uses the Herbert Randall Collection to examine the artists’ responses to events during the civil rights movement and the inspiration for activism through art. 
Danker earned her Ph.D. in Art Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is an assistant professor of art education in the department of art at Miami University. Danker served as a fellow at the 2017 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute hosted at Harvard University, "What Happened to the Civil Rights Movement?" and her research interests include Miami University’s Freedom Summer Project of 1964.

Join us

Please join us on Wednesday, Feb. 12 in King 320. There will be a pop-up exhibition of Freedom Summer items and a reception to follow the lecture. 

Libraries to hold crafting event a week before Valentine’s Day

Craft Your Heart OUt

By Shawn Vanness, communications specialist 

Need some inspiration on a Valentine’s gift? Have a gift in mind but need some resources, tools or expert advice? 

Come Craft Your Heart Out on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020 in the University Libraries Makerspace. Located on the third floor of King Library, the Makerspace is open to all Miami students, faculty and staff. This event is planned a week before Valentine’s Day to give you plenty of time to explore, create and even come back if you need more time to innovate before the big day. 

From 1- 5 p.m., the Makerspace will host crafts including card making, blackout poetry, button making, heat transfer to tote bags, and light-up felt brooches. 


Spring workshops offer digital resources for success

Super charge your semester red banner

Spring workshops offer digital resources for success

By Shawn Vanness, communications specialist

The Libraries are back from winter break with two free workshops designed to support student success. Apps for Academic Success and Digital Wellness offer tools for students to navigate and leverage emerging technologies.

Both workshops are open to all Miami students, faculty and staff. Students are welcome to drop in to any session. Charge up your mobile device and get ready for a great semester!


Libraries extend hours for fall finals week

To support students preparing for final exams,

the Libraries will extend their operating hours

Saturday, December 7 through Friday, December 13.

Library Saturday, December 7 Sunday, December 8 Monday, December 9 - Thursday, December 12 Friday, December 13
King 24 hours 24 hours 24 hours Closes at midnight
B.E.S.T. 9 a.m. - 10 p.m. 9 a.m. - 2 a.m. 7:30 a.m. - 2 a.m. 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Wertz Noon - 6 p.m. Noon - 11 p.m. 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Amos 1 - 5 p.m. 1 - 11 p.m. 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.