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The Judd Family Fellowship for the Study of Genocide and Persecution Stories

Lillian and Dennis Judd

This research fellowship supports the collection and analysis of narratives that highlight human perseverance in the midst of extreme adversity, with a focus on personal or second-generation experiences with genocide and life-threatening persecution. The research will also include an investigative component related to the events described by the storytellers. The objective is to ensure that stories of human travail and survival are recorded, preserved, studied, and archived so that we can learn from the atrocities that humans are capable of inflicting on one another. Following in the footsteps of Lillian Judd, Dennis's mother, who was a Holocaust survivor from Czechoslovakia, the emphasis of this project is to inspire people with messages of unity and forgiveness, the affirmation of the triumph of human spirit over all the adversities.


Lillian Judd was born in 1923 in Ungvar, Czechoslovakia, which is present-day Uzhhorod, Ukraine. In 1938, Ungvar was annexed by Hungary, which was allied with Nazi Germany. After being confined to the Ungvar ghetto, Judd was deported by train to Auschwitz. She witnessed firsthand the murder of her father, and the selection of her two youngest sisters for the gas chamber. However, Judd and her sister Herczi survived not only Auschwitz, but Bergen-Belsen, Flossenb├╝rg, and a forced march west before the end of the Second World War.  After the conclusion of the war, she married Emil Judd, and gave birth to a son, Irving. They emigrated to the United States in 1949 with twenty dollars in their pockets, not speaking any English. They worked hard, appreciated the freedom and opportunity of America, and in 1955, had a second child, Dennis. Lillian and Emil Judd moved to Santa Rosa in 1996. It was there that Lillian wrote a memoir, From Nightmare to Freedom: Healing After the Holocaust, about her experience in the Holocaust. Over the years, she spoke to thousands of students in schools, as well as members of churches, synagogues, and service clubs. She always emphasized the importance of confronting anger before it becomes hatred, of forgiveness, and of helping others who are the victims of injustice.

Submission Deadline

11:59 PM on Monday, March 25, 2024

Faculty mentors, please submit your student's proposal and SSU unoffical transcripts here.

The Proposal

To apply for the fellowship, please click on the link to download a copy of the proposal to your computer.

The Judd Family Fellowship Proposal


If you have questions about this fellowship, please email Professor Stephen Bittner at

Information about the Fellowship

Students: Open to undergraduate students who are matriculated and enrolled at Sonoma State University for both Fall and Spring of the AY2024-2025. All majors are eligible to apply. Students from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences are encouraged to apply. These fellowships aim to enrich student learning rather than to reward past performance. The research conducted as part of the fellowship will be done under the supervision of a faculty mentor whose area of expertise aligns with the proposed research topic.

Faculty: Faculty mentors must be tenured or tenure-track full time faculty members at Sonoma State University. The faculty member must agree to mentor the student project across a range of research or creative activities relevant to the discipline including project development and presentation of results.

  • Duration: One academic year (Fall and Spring semester)
  • Number of fellowships available: 3
  • Stipend amount: $3000 for the student researcher, $1000 for the faculty mentor

Receiving Units:

  • Projects may be in conjunction with or independent of existing, scheduled coursework.
  • If independent, the project may lead to course credits (e.g., 499 units)
  • If in conjunction with a course, then the project must include significant activity beyond the course requirements, enough so that it requires a full academic year to complete.

All recipients of the Judd Family Fellowship will:

  • Acknowledge the fellowship.
  • Enroll in HIST 495 (1 unit each semester; meeting time TBA by student and instructor)
  • Attend 3-4 scheduled meetings and events (approximately one in each of the following: Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025).
  • Provide a mid-year progress report of the project by the last day of Fall 2024 semester. (Guidelines will be provided.)
  • Participate in an end-of-the-year certificate ceremony to present the project publicly. (Guidelines will be provided.
  • Submit a final project to the Center for the Study of Holocaust and Genocide at the end of Spring Semester
  • Attend an outreach event to connect with potential future applicants.

Preparing the Proposal:

  • Interested students should approach a faculty member with a project in mind and ask whether the faculty member is willing to serve as a mentor for the project. The student should provide the faculty member with this document at their first meeting.
  • The student, under the guidance of supervision of the faculty mentor, will prepare the proposal for submission. Keep in mind that proposals may take several weeks to develop and complete.
  • Once complete, the faculty mentor will submit the proposal HERE on behalf of the student.

You may download a PDF of the Fellowship Information to your computer. To propose a project, please download a copy of The Judd Family Fellowship Proposal to your computer. Proposals must include:
  1. Names and email addresses of student researcher and faculty mentor.
  2. Title of the Project: The title of the project should describe the project succinctly.
  3. Project Goal: (1 sentence)
  4. Abstract: (100-150 words)
  5. Personal Statement: This section includes the student's academic interests and goals and any personal information the student and faculty mentor think would be useful to convey to the review committee. (350-500 words)
  6. Project Proposal Narrative: In this section, the student introduces the project, states the research question, describes the methods that will be used and explains the value of the project (800-1000 words)
  7. Timeline: This section provides a proposed timeline for the project from beginning to end, including mentor meetings (at least 2X/month), tasks associated with the project, and the completion date for the various activities (maximum 1 page)
  8. Bibliography (optional): Provide a list of sources referenced in the proposal in the format and style expected for your academic discipline.
  9. Units: Is this an independent project or part of a course? (If part of a course, then in one paragraph identify all of the activities that are beyond the course requirements.)
  10. Other similar grants and awards: Please list other awards and scholarships you are receiving or applying for (e.g., McNair Scholars, CSU Pre-Doctoral Programs, etc.)
  11. Unofficial Transcript: For SSU course work only.
  12. Faculty Statement: This section is prepared by the faculty mentor and explains the merits of the project, the likelihood the project can be completed in the timeline provided, describes the mentoring plan (e.g., frequency of meetings, support in learning new research methods, etc.), and other information the faculty member thinks reviewers might find helpful (maximum 500 words).