This year’s Holocaust Education Week, organized by Queen’s Hillel, aims to show the connections between past, present and future.
Two speakers and a walk-through exhibit in the JDUC, featuring the “different stages” of the Holocaust and current remembrance initiatives both in Kingston and throughout the world, will comprise this year’s events. The events will run from Monday to Thursday next week.
On Monday evening, Alexander Schelischansky, an intern at the Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre in Toronto, will speak about the rise of fascism and national socialism in Europe.
Keynote speaker Hedy Bohm, a Holocaust survivor, will present her story on Wednesday evening in Wallace Hall.
Lia Baird and Zoey Katz are part of the Holocaust Education Week 2014 Committee.
The exhibit in the JDUC will include an interactive component where visitors can post their answers to a question related to the week’s theme. Baird said she hopes to have a world map to illustrate how people were affected by the Holocaust.
“You could pin on a map, for example, where your family was originally, be it your family was affected by it because they were taken out of their homes and show where they were from,” said Baird, ArtSci ’15.
She said the goal of the exhibit wasn’t to make sure that everyone who passes the exhibit is interested and walks through it, “[but] if they walk by and they see something and later … they’re interested again and they want to learn themselves, that’s a success in itself, too,” she said.
Throughout her time at Queen’s, Katz said, there’s never been a speaker like Schelischansky. Rather than providing a personal account, Schelischansky will discuss the government situation around the time of the Holocaust and how the events of the Holocaust began.
Katz said this could establish a connection for people who might not otherwise participate in the week’s events.
“Everyone understands what a dictatorship is. Everyone understands, you know, how politics have an effect on the citizens’ everyday lives,” said Katz, Nurs ’16.
“Even if you’re a history student or a politics student and don’t necessarily care too much about any other event that we’re doing, or care to go through the exhibit, this event I think can tailor to a lot of people to form another connection to something that we’re going to be speaking about.”
Attending the events, Katz said, shows “a concern for the world itself” and a sense of not only caring about the past, but the future.
“That’s a really important piece for us because we realize that it’s not some event that can’t happen again,” she said.
“The world is not a healthy place, the world has not necessarily learned from all its mistakes.”
Katz said that Bohm, who she has previously met, is very “inspirational”, adding that hundreds of people attended last year’s Holocaust survivor speech.
She added that it’s important for everyone to find their own connections to the events of the Holocaust, “because no one’s going to learn from it if they don’t find it relevant to their lives”.
“Otherwise, it’s just another page in their history textbook, and that’s what we’re trying to avoid,” she said.
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