War and the Human Experience Series

War and the Human Experience Series

The ​series studies the myriad of ways warfare has influenced our lives. War and the Human Experience (WHE) partners with veterans, refugees, and their loved ones to enrich the learning environment for DMACC students and the community at large. The WHE series fosters DMACC’s commitment to being a military friendly college by having veteran students serve as advisers and participants in programming. Lastly, WHE promotes citizenship as understanding past and present conflict is a civic responsibility.

Upcoming Events

No upcoming events.

Past Events

Date/Location Event Details
April 2, Ankeny Campus

Holocaust Survivor Celina Karp Biniaz

Celina Karp Biniaz

Biniaz, originally from Krakow, Poland, was on Schindler’s List, but was accidentally sent to Auschwitz. There, she confronted the infamous Josef Mengele, who sentenced her to death. Biniaz pleaded for her life saying, “Let Me Go.” Miraculously, the Angel of Death changed his mind. After liberation, Biniaz moved to Iowa and became an educator. Her talks are part of a partnership between the WHE program and the Iowa Jewish Historical Society.

September 19, Carroll Campus

Harold Kasimow: Memories of a Child Holocaust Survivor

Harold Kasimow

Harold Kasimow's earliest memories are of living in total darkness and silence, with no room to move and very little to eat. Kasimow, his parents, and his two sisters spent 19 months and 5 days hiding from the Nazis in a hole dug in the floor of a cattle barn, covered over with boards and straw. He was 4 years old when they went into hiding in the hole, in a small village near Vilnius, then part of Poland. In this powerful presentation, he'll reflect on that experience, and its lasting influence on his life as a scholar and interfaith pioneer.

September 24, West Campus

Gerald Berry: A Pilot Recalls Combat in Vietnam

Gerald Berry

US Marine Gerald Berry, formerly of Des Moines, will speak about flying helicopters in the Vietnam War. During the conflict, Berry earned three Distinguished Flying Crosses. When Saigon fell to the communists, pictured right, Berry flew out hundreds of refugees for over eighteen straight hours. Berry made one the most iconic flights in military history when he evacuated the US Ambassador to Vietnam. Colonel Berry, pictured left, has appeared on CBS, PBS, CNN, History Channel, and Discovery Channel.

Date/Location Event Details

February 5, Urban Campus

February 5, Ankeny Campus

February 6, Boone Campus

Medal of Honor Winner Melvin Morris


Melvin Morris, one of the few living recipients of the Medal of Honor, will share his combat experience for Black History Month. Morris, originally from Oklahoma, joined the US Army and became one of the nation's first Green Berets. Morris served two tours in the Vietnam War. During one mission, he was shot three times. Mr. Morris is part of a rich tradition of African American military service.

Date/Location Event Details
September 13, DMACC Virtual Event

Andrew Lichtenstein: Witness and Documenter of 9/11


For the 20th anniversary of 9/11, photographer and journalist Andrew Lichtenstein will offer a virtual presentation on his experiences. Lichtenstein will share his powerful photographs that helped document one of the darkest moments in US history. The presenter teaches at the International Center of Photography in New York City.​

Date/Location Event Details

October 3, Boone Campus

October 4, Ankeny Campus

October 4, Urban Campus

UN War Crimes Investigator Vlad Dzuro Presentation


The war that broke out in the former Yugoslavia at the end of the twentieth century unleashed unspeakable acts of violence committed against defenseless civilians, including a grisly mass murder at an Ovčara pig farm in 1991. Homicide detective and UN investigator Vlad Dzuro will speak about his experience trying to bring war criminals to justice. Dzuro is the author of The Investigator: Demons of the Balkan War.

November 17, DMACC Virtual Event

Steen Metz: Reflections of a Holocaust Survivor


On October 2, 1943, eight-year-old Steen Metz and his parents were arrested and deported from Denmark to the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp in the Czech Republic. This Nazi facility was the scene of constant hunger, brutal living conditions, and death.  Some 15,000 children passed through Theresienstadt. Metz was one of fewer than 1,500 who survived. Hear the powerful testimony of one of the last remaining Holocaust survivors.

​Questions? Email mrwalsh@dmacc.edu​. ​

Date/Location Event Details

February 22, Boone Campus

February 23, Urban Campus

February 23, Ankeny Campus

Herman and Joyce Cole: Black History Month Presentation


Herman Cole witnessed the Ku Klux Klan burning crosses next to his childhood home in South Carolina, marched with Martin Luther King Jr. as a high schooler, and studied under Chief Anderson, the father of Black aviation, at Tuskegee Institute. Cole served in the Vietnam War and attained the rank of colonel in the US Air Force. He will be joined by his wife, Joyce, a Civil Rights worker who registered Black voters in “Bloody” Lowndes County, Alabama.​

Student Service Member Profile - Stephen Klein

Stephen Klein

Stephen Klein worked as an infantryman, combat engineer, cannon crew member, military policeman​, and horizontal construction engineer while serving in the U.S. Army. He has served at Camp Bucca, Iraq, and Sharana, Afghanistan. Additionally, he was deployed to Nicaragua, Arizona, and Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. At DMACC, he is finishing his AAS in heating, cooling, and refrigeration. Klein has already been hired full-time by Facebook. 

“I am participating with War and the Human Experience because there are combat veterans who feel they do not have a voice and want their story to be heard. If I can help with getting the message out, why not?”