Rorholm Receives Gonzaga Institute for Hate Studies Eva Lassman Student Research Award

Monday, June 5, 2017

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Gonzaga University Institute for Hate Studies has awarded Marnie Rorholm, a student in Gonzaga’s Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies, the Eva Lassman Memorial Student Research Award, which includes a $700 stipend to assist in her study of a hate-related issue.

The award will help Rorholm in the research project titled, “The Pink Triangle Prisoners: Memorializing Homophobia in the Holocaust.”

The award is named for the late Eva Lassman, a Holocaust survivor and longtime community educator on the Holocaust and human rights who received the inaugural Take Action Against Hate Award in 2009. She stood as both witness and advocate for dignity, respect, and perseverance, served on the Institute’s advisory board and received an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Gonzaga Law School in 2002. Lassman, who died in 2011, also received the YWCA’s Carl Maxey Racial Justice Award in 2006 for her work battling racism and empowering women.

Rorholm’s adviser Kem Gambrell, assistant professor of leadership studies, is assisting Rorholm in the research project that will investigate LGBTQ issues in Germany through a historical lens to illustrate how hate was institutionalized, maintained and perpetrated by ignoring the abuse of gay prisoners in concentration camps.

Rorholm developed an interest in the topic during the summer of 2015 when she visited the Dachau concentration camp near Munich, Germany, with her teenage son. She learned about cloth triangles that prisoners wore as identification, specifically the pink triangles worn by gay men.

Rorholm will use the award money this summer to observe the Pink Triangle Park and Memorial for LGBTQ Americans in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood.

Rorholm will present her preliminary research findings at the Fourth International Conference on Hate Studies: Engaging with Communities for Justice, which Gonzaga is hosting Oct. 19-21. When finished with the project, she will submit it to the Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies as part of her candidacy, and to the Gonzaga Institute for Hate Studies’ Journal of Hate Studies.