‘I feel the responsibility to share’: Queen’s Hillel kicks off Holocaust Education Week

First event co-hosted by Hillel and the AMS

Panel event discussed importance of honouring Holocaust survivors.
Credit: 
National Public Radio

This article discusses the Holocaust and may be triggering for some readers. The Peer Support Centre offers drop-in services and empathetic peer-based support and is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Online services can be accessed here. Students may also contact Queen’s Hillel at yos.tarshish@hillelontario.org.

As part of Holocaust Education Week, the AMS and Queen’s Hillel hosted the ‘Aftermath of the Holocaust: A Student Perspective’ panel on Jan. 24. The event discussed the necessity of paying tribute to the losses suffered by Jewish people during the Holocaust and the intergenerational trauma that continues to affect their families today.

Members sitting on the panel event included Louis Althaus, ArtSci ’22, Gili Golan, ArtSci ’24, Zane Mungal, ArtSci ’25, and Rachel Offenheimer, ArtSci ’22.

The panelists discussed how the denial of the Holocaust remains prevalent today and why it’s not a matter of individual freedom of speech but rather a significant historical event that needs to be acknowledged and reflected upon by everyone.

Althaus, born in Munich and later moved to Berlin, spoke to the Holocaust's aftermath in the country where it began over 70 years ago. 

Growing up, Althaus was deeply influenced by the aftermath of the Holocaust. According to him, people in Germany have been free of Nazi beliefs for the last 25-30 years, thanks to the government's respectful support of Jewish values.

“I was there [visiting Auschwitz]. I’ve never seen anything so soul-crushing in my life, and people become disenfranchised if they don’t have reminders of it,” Althaus said.

He added there’s an entire course dedicated to the history of the Holocaust that students must take in Germany in their last year of high school.

“In terms of what Jews can expect from non-Jews [in Germany], this is a very successful action on the government's end.”

Every nation's government plays a role in commemorating the Holocaust by establishing the education that needs to be given—something lacking in North American public schools.

Paying respect towards survivors of the Holocaust is of the utmost importance, and seeking education on this matter is essential in regenerating Jewish culture in modern-day life, Offenheimer added.

Mungal touched on the additional obligation to share the stories of elders who are Holocaust survivors.

“It does seem like an added responsibility. Not in a negative way, but it’s something I think about often,” Mungal said. 

“We are lucky to have survivors [still living] today, and it's a piece of history that can be generalized in textbooks, but individual stories, the perspective of being Jewish is something we need to share and carry on—I feel the responsibility to share it.”

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