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Holocaust victims remembered and survivors honored

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is located in Washington, DC. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT) Photo credit: MCT

The Holocaust occured between 1933 and 1945. This was the persecution and systematic murder of millions of individuals. From April 4 to 11, WSU will do its part to remember and honor the people who lost their lives and those who survived.

A display will be set up in the Shepherd Union Atrium Pillar Plaza from April 6 to 11 and will be made of video, photo and text displays
telling the stories from victims of the Holocaust.

“Holocaust remembrance is a time to reflect on the hatred in the world and how it’s still prevalent in today’s
society, even though it’s not right in front of our face,” Teresa Martinez, the Diversity &
Inclusive Program Coordinator at WSU, said.

On April 5, in partnership with Sessions on the Ledge, students will be able to hear stories on the experience of both Holocaust and genocide survivors. The stories will be told from Noon to 1:00 p.m., with a silent
vigil held halfway through at 12:30 p.m.

Kirsten Ivy, who currently teaches at BYU-Idaho, said that the physicality of these events helps to breakdown the barriers that can be
created when students are only reading information about the Holocaust or Rwanda.

A view of the camp clock at Buchenwald, outside Weimar, Germany, in December 1994. Sitting atop the camp's maingate building, the clock is stopped at 3:15 p.m., marking the exact time that prison was liberated from Nazi rule. (Chuck Myers/MCT) Photo credit: MCT

“An event where there are presentations and people to talk to … That is what makes (it) a lot more concrete and real for people,” Ivy said.

In the Wildcat Theater on April 6, there will be a film screening and a discussion to follow from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

“It is always fascinating when I am putting on these types of events,” Martinez said. “When I am reading these stories and experiences, not one of them is ever the same.”

The last event held will shift focus from the Holocaust to modern-day genocide and will include guest speaker Dydine Umunyana, a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. Umunyana will speak from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m. in the Wildcat Theater on April 7, which is the 22nd anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide.

Stephanie Wolfe, an assistant professor of political science at WSU, was essential in reaching out to and inviting Umunyana to speak.

Wolfe is an expert in Rwanda and has conducted research on the country throughout her life. She will participate in Holocaust Remembrance Week.

“The thing is, despite the fact that we said never again after the Holocaust, it happens again and again,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe also takes a group of students on a study abroad trip to Rwanda each summer. This year will be the fourth summer a group from WSU has gone. Four departments on campus — including political science, criminal justice, communications and women and gender studies — award students credit hours for the trip.

Although the first few meetings for the trip have already happened, students who are interested may still sign up in the next few weeks. More information can be found online or by contacting Wolfe via email at [email protected].

A panel discussion on modern genocide will follow Umunyana’s speech and will be made up of Umunyana, Wolfe and other professors from WSU. It will run from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. in the Wildcat Theater.

According to Wolfe the U.S. Department of State declared that what ISIS is currently doing is a genocide, and she plans to touch on this during the panel.

“There’s genocides ongoing right now, and if we turn a blind eye, it’s never going to stop,” Wolfe said. “So the students need to know what’s happening and take action.”

Additional information about the events during Holocaust Remembrance Week can be found both online or by stopping at the office for Diversity & Inclusive Programs located in the Shepherd Union, Room 232.

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