Beginning Monday, a Jewish student organization on campus will host a series of events in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, also known as Yom Hashoah, which falls on May 2 this year.
The organization, TCU Hillel, will create a Holocaust mini-museum in the Brown-Lupton Student Center that the public can visit Monday through Wednesday, said Belle Marco, TCU Hillel president.
Arnold Barkman, an associate professor of accounting and Hillel’s faculty adviser, said this is the first time the group has ever attempted to create a mini-museum.
“We have never tried anything of this magnitude before, and by doing so, we hope to show the horrors of what happened in such a way that visitors will leave with an understanding of why such events should never occur again,” Barkman wrote in an e-mail.
Marco, a sophomore physics major who moved to Fort Worth from Israel three years ago, said remembering the Holocaust has special significance to her.
“My grandfather survived the Holocaust in Romania,” Marco said. “He was relatively young when he was in the Holocaust and escaped and rebuilt his life.”
Marco said she hopes the mini-museum will educate people about more than just the death counts of the Holocaust.
“Six million is just a number on the paper. It’s hard to grasp how big it really was,” Marco said, giving the estimated number of Jews killed in the Holocaust.
Claire Sanders, an instructor of history who specializes in modern Europe, wrote in an e-mail that teaching the Holocaust can be a challenge “in a world where violence has become more or less commonplace.”
Sanders wrote: “Teaching the Holocaust involves not only explaining the enormous number of lives lost, but also explaining the fact that the Holocaust was intentional, systematic, industrial, state-sponsored violence and how it was possible for a nation to embark on such a program of violence.”
Sanders wrote that the Holocaust of World War II was not the last instance of genocide, citing examples such as Iraq’s mass killing of Kurds and the ongoing conflict in Darfur.
“We are all a part of community,” she wrote. “However, we define community, and as a part of community we are responsible for each other.”
Andrew Hollinger, director of media relations for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, said the importance of remembering the Holocaust is that there is an increasing amount of anti-Semitism today.
“Survivors are still among us, but for younger people who may not have any direct connection to the eyewitness generation, it seems like history,” Hollinger said.
Hollinger said the Holocaust is the “most extreme example of anti-Semitism,” which is dangerous to everyone in society.
Elliot Dlin, executive director for Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance, wrote in an e-mail that the Holocaust was unique because “never before in history had a state/government planned and tried to implement the complete murder of every man, woman and child belonging to a particular group of people and the total expunging of every vestige of their existence from the face of the earth.”
Hollinger said the increasing number of Holocaust deniers is another form of anti-Semitism and is another reason why educating people about the Holocaust is important.
Dlin wrote, “The historical evidence of the Holocaust is overwhelming – even much more extensive than more contemporary events like the genocides in Cambodia or Rwanda.”
Marco also said other than an occasional joke, she has never encountered anti-Semitism at TCU.
“Other students are open and accepting,” Marco said.
Hillel will also host a mid-April Passover dinner and will place flags symbolizing the various groups impacted by the Holocaust on the lawns of Sadler Hall and Reed Hall on May 2.
For Your Info
Holocaust Remembrance Day Mini-Museum
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday
Noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Brown-Lupton Student Center room 207