The sixth annual Holocaust Awareness Week at Colorado State University, called "Bringing Light Into the Darkness," will run April 15-19.
More than a half-century ago, hate created the Holocaust. During the genocide of World War II, two-thirds of Jews in Europe were exterminated, decreasing the overall Jewish population from 9 million to 3 million people. Holocaust Awareness Week activities focus on raising awareness about these facts. Activities include opening and closing keynote addresses, a Holocaust survivor’s panel, a memorial service and guest lectures about Holocaust denial and the creation of Israel.
"History has proven that hate and hope are some of the most powerful tools a human mind can create," said Holli Mast, member of the student organizing committee. "Today, we are still witness to the destruction hate can breed. It is through hope, however, that the human spirit can persevere."
"Given the times we are living in today, we want to be able to bring awareness of such a horrific event and yet talk about the hope and the light of life at the same time," said Hedy Berman, director of Hillel at Colorado State. Lani Silver will be the opening keynote speaker for the week. Silver was the founder and executive director of the Bay Area Holocaust Oral History Project. She was Steven Spielberg’s first consultant and she trained people how to interview Holocaust survivors as part of the Shoah Foundation’s interview project. Silver’s talk, "Making the Connections: The Holocaust, Racism and Social Justice," will start at 7 p.m. April 16 in the Lory Student Center Theatre. Silver will discuss social justice and racism of the Holocaust and of the present day, as well as emphasize that one person can make a difference in the world.
"It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as we’re working together for a better society," said Silver. "If everyone does a little, we might prevail."
Silver also will discuss the story of Chiune Sugihara, the "Japanese Schindler," at 12:30 p.m. April 16 in Room 230 of the Lory Student Center. As a Japanese diplomat in Kaunas (now Kovno), Lithuania, Sugihara issued visas to help thousands of Lithuanian Jews to freedom. Silver and her team spent seven years educating the public about Sugihara’s story and have co-authored several books on the topic. In conjunction with Silver’s discussion, "Visas and Virtue," a documentary about Sugihara will be shown. Directed by Chris Tashima, the documentary won the 1997 Oscar for Best Short Film.
The closing keynote speaker is Jud Newborn, who will speak at 7 p.m. April 18 in the Lory Student Center North Ballroom. Newborn, a cultural anthropologist, Holocaust scholar and author, helped build New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage – a living memorial to the Holocaust. Newborn has appeared as a historical consultant on major television and radio networks, including "CBS Morning News," "Studs Terkel Show" and National Public Radio’s "All Things Considered." Newborn’s address, "Defying Hitler: The White Rose Resistance and Ethnic Hatred Today," will center on an independent German resistance movement comprised of German students and professors as described in his book, "Shattering the German Night: The Story of the White Rose." Although the book is currently out of print in the United States, a new edition will be reprinted in Germany this month with an introduction written by German President Richard von Weizaecker. Holocaust Awareness Week events are free and open to the public. Events are funded by the Sturm Family Foundation, Hillel Council of Colorado, Associated Students of Colorado State University, Women’s Programs and Studies, Colorado State University English Department and Organization of Graduate Student Writers. The keynote addresses are part of Hillel’s Sturm Lecture Series, sponsored by the Sturm Family Foundation and Hillel Council of Colorado. For more information, contact Hillel at Colorado State at (970) 491-2080 or refer to the calendar on the Hillel Web site at http://csu.hillelcolorado.org.
The week’s schedule of events follows.
- 11 a.m.- 2 p.m., Lory Student Center Plaza: "Bringing Light Into the Darkness Candle-Making Ceremony." Participants can make their own candles as part of a symbolic opening ceremony of Holocaust Awareness Week.
- 3-4 p.m., Room 228, Lory Student Center: "Reflections of the Holocaust in History." Colorado State Professor Henry Weisser will discuss the Holocaust.
- 7 p.m., Lory Student Center Theatre: Holocaust Survivor’s Panel. Survivors will share their personal stories of the Holocaust.
- 12:30-2 p.m., Room 230, Lory Student Center: "The Story of Chiune Sugihara, the ‘Japanese Schindler.’ " The talk will be presented by Lani Silver.
- 7 p.m., Lory Student Center Theatre: Hillel’s Sturm Lecture Series presents keynote speaker Lani Silver, "Making the Connections: The Holocaust, Racism and Social Justice."
- Noon, Room 228, Lory Student Center: The Women at Noon Series in cooperation with Holocaust Awareness Week presents "Women and the Art of Survival." Marilyn Kallet, director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Tennessee and author of eight books, including "Sleeping with One Eye Open," will speak on some of the ways in which successful women writers have overcome obstacles to accomplish their art.
- 2 p.m., Room 228, Lory Student Center: Jonathan Adelman presents "Israel and the Holocaust: The Creation of a Homeland." In honor of Israeli Independence Day, Adelman, faculty member at the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver, will discuss the creation of the state of Israel following the Holocaust.
- 7 p.m., Room 228 Lory Student Center: Marilyn Kallet will present a poetry reading on "Jewish Family, Identity and the Holocaust."
- 2:15-3:30 p.m., Room 228, Lory Student Center: "Holocaust Denial." A talk by Fred Davine, a representative from the Anti-Defamation League.
- 7 p.m., Lory Student Center North Ballroom: Keynote speaker Jud Newborn will discuss "Defying Hitler: The White Rose Resistance and Ethnic Hatred Today."
- Noon-1 p.m., Lory Student Center Sunken Art Lounge: A memorial service to remember victims of the Holocaust will feature readings, songs and prayers.
Throughout the week
- From 10 a.m.-2 p.m on April 15-18 and 10 a.m.-noon on April 19 at the Lory Student Center Sunken Lounge, a litany of the martyrs will be read of some of the people who died in concentration camps. "Stop Hate" buttons will be distributed. Flags representing different groups murdered in the Holocaust will be displayed on the lawn of the Natural Resources Building on campus.