The Holocaust and American Public Memory

A conversation with Fred Zeidman, Chairman Emeritus of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Council.



Emerson Auditorium in Knight Hall Washington University in St. Louis

One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130


  • The Holocaust and American Public Memory

    Fred Zeidman and Rachel Gross (April 22, 2015)

Please join us for this conversation with Fred Zeidman, Chairman Emeritus of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, moderated by Rachel Gross, Virginia Tech.

Remembrance of the Holocaust—through museums, memorials, and ceremonies—has become a hallowed feature of American public life. Fred Zeidman served from 2002-2010 as Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Council and thereby has played a critical role in that ongoing work of remembrance. In helping to preserve the stories of survivors and victims of the Nazi regime, the Holocaust Memorial Museum has become a beacon in the nation’s capital for confronting genocide and anti-Semitism. Professor Rachel Gross, whose own scholarly work focuses on Jewish memory, will host a broad-ranging conversation with Mr. Zeidman about his experiences leading this council as well as his ongoing engagement with religious and political issues of the day.

Fred ZeidmanFred Zeidman, Chairman Emeritus of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, was appointed by President George W. Bush in March 2002 and served in that position from 2002-2010.  A prominent Houston based business and civic leader, Mr. Zeidman also is Chairman Emeritus of the University of Texas Health Science System Houston, interim Chief Financial Officer of the Texas Heart Institute and is Vice Chancellor of the Houston Community College System.  He further serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the University of Saint Thomas and is National Campaign Chairman of Development Corp of Israel (Israel Bonds).

Mr. Zeidman recently became Chairman of Gordian Group LLC, a leading U.S. investment bank specializing in board-level advice in complex, distressed or “story” financial matters. Over the course of his distinguished 45-year career, Zeidman has been involved in numerous high-profile workouts, restructurings and reorganizations.  He was former CEO, President, and Chairman of Seitel, Inc., a Houston-based provider where he was instrumental in the successful turnaround of the Company. He also held the post of Chairman of the Board and CEO of Unibar Corporation, the largest domestic independent drilling fluids company, until its sale to Anchor Drilling Fluids in 1992.

Mr. Zeidman holds a Bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master’s in Business Administration from New York University.

Gross_Jan2014_webRachel Gross is Visiting Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies in the Department of Religion and Culture at Virginia Tech. She was formerly a dissertation completion fellow with the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, earning her Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University.

Gross is a scholar of religious studies with a specialization in American Jewish history. Her work focuses on the lives of twentieth-century and contemporary American Jews, and her research interests include museums and public memory, the visual and material cultures of American religions, and the role of space and place in the formation of religious communities. Her courses at Virginia Tech include The Holocaust: Cataclysm and Representation and Jewish Literacy: Introduction to Jewish History, Culture, and Heritage.

Cosponsored by the Holocaust Museum & Learning Center at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis.

This event is free and open to all – RSVP appreciated. or (314) 935-9345



  • Fred Zeidman

  • Rachel Gross

    Dissertation Fellow, 2013-2014; PhD candidate, Princeton University

  • Leigh Eric Schmidt

    Edward C. Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor