U Remembers the Holocaust

The U is commemorating the Holocaust this week.

The memorial events, originally called “The Days of Remembrance,” began 20 years ago and are led by Ron Smeltzer, a U professor. This year the commemoration is called “U Remembers.”

Maeera Shreiber, a professor in English, said she had the opportunity to visit the National Holocaust Museum in D.C. for a faculty seminar.

“It was truly a transformative and revolutionary experience,” she said. “I realized how … urgent the information I learned was for our world today.”

Shreiber said it is important to link the Holocaust to all cultures and backgrounds because all people suffer from injustice.

“We have the obligation to educate about the Holocaust so mankind realizes that immensity that actions can have,” she said.

A keynote address by Beverly Mitchell, a theologian and minister, will take place today at 12 p.m. Mitchell has written a study comparing the Holocaust to slave plantations in the United States. Later, from 2 to 3 p.m., the U is hosting a peace and conflict dialogue.

“We wanted to hold this final discussion to allow people to express their feelings,” Shreiber said.

The week started with a panel discussion comparing the Holocaust to the current protests in Ferguson, Mo. and racial profiling differences between the U.S. and other countries. Bruce Dain, a professor in the department of history who specializes in racial history, conducted the panel.

“Comparisons are good,” Dain said, noting that despite the many differences between Ferguson and the Holocaust, there are underlying similarities.

Kathren Brown, from UVU, said those with the loudest voices in the Holocaust, particularly the Nazis, were the ones who carried and enacted all of the ideas. The Holocaust began in the 1930s in Germany and Poland, where minority groups, such as Jews and communists, were targeted and many killed. Brown said the Germans, led by Adolf Hitler, adopted this idea to “improve the fitness of the race.”

Dain concluded the panel, saying, “Do unto others as they would do unto you. How do we get to that?”

Ragnhild Dalen, a freshman in international studies and an exchange student from Norway, said she thinks education is the best way to better the world and stop situations like the Holocaust from occurring again. Dalen volunteered for a youth committee in Norway that promoted education and said it is important to “teach [the] leaders of tomorrow.” She said events like this are important because it is “insane” that those things happened.

Angeliki Neofitos, a senior in international studies, said it is important to learn from the past, particularly because the violence of the Nazis is more recent than other events.

“All history,” she said, “is relevant.”

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