Colorado State University Celebrates 14th Annual Holocaust & Genocide Awareness Week March 1-5

Students for Holocaust Awareness and Hillel present the 14th Annual Holocaust & Genocide Awareness Week at Colorado State University March 1-5.

Two Holocaust survivors will share their stories at 7 p.m. Monday, March 1 in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom during the annual Survivors Panel. Estelle Nadel and Rosalyn Kirkel will each share their personal stories of survival during the Holocaust. A question-and-answer session with the audience will follow.

• Kirkel was a child survivor of during the Holocaust. She was born in Lithuania, in the city Vilnius. Born during the Holocaust, she was only a toddler when her family members were killed by the Nazis. She tells a true-life story of herself as a hidden child during the Holocaust. Kirkel was born with the name Raisele. Due to the dangers their family faced when the Nazis occupied Lithuania, her mother gave her away to a Christian couple with the intention of claiming her later when it was safer. Her mother never came back. She was killed, together with Kirkel’s siblings. As a hidden child, she was brought up Christian and had to wear a cross around her neck. When she was 5, her real father who survived the Holocaust came back to Vilnius to reclaim his child whom he brought into the world as Raisele. Today, Kirkel lives in Denver. She has been living in Colorado since 1974.

• Nadel was a child on a Polish farm when Nazis ripped apart her world, fragmenting a life rich with Jewish religious ceremony and family. The farm was a place of potato and carrot fields and chicken coops, of thatch- roofed houses and horse-drawn plows.That place painfully dissolved as men wearing swastikas killed most of Nadel’s extended family. For two years, she saw little more than slivers of Poland through cracks in the walls of an attic where she hid. At age 12, Nadel and two brothers left Europe for America, without their parents and without their sister and another brother. People need to remember what can happen when others demonize races or ethnicities or religions, she says. When the stories remain crystalline, maybe the world will see less genocide, she says.

Other events include:

A Field of Flags ceremony will take place at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26 on the Lory Student Center Plaza. The flags will be on display during the entire week on the plaza. The flags represent the different groups murdered during the Holocaust, with each flag representing 5,000 victims.

Additionally, a Litany of Martyrs will be held from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 2, Wednesday March 3, and Thursday March 4 in the Lory Student Center Sunken Lounge. During this time, volunteers will take turns reading names of some of those who died during the Holocaust. Community members are welcome to volunteer for this event.

The film “Defiance” will be shown at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 2, in the Lory Student Center Theatre. Based on an extraordinary true story, “Defiance” is an epic tale of family, honor, vengeance and salvation during World War II. The year is 1941 and the Jews of Eastern Europe are being massacred by the thousands. There they begin their desperate battle against the Nazis. Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, and Jamie Bell star as brothers who turn a primitive struggle to survive into something far more consequential – a way to avenge the deaths of their loved ones by saving thousands of others.

Passionate is a word that describes the life and art of Holocaust Survivor Paula Burger. At 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 3, there will be an art showing of Burger’s work in the Lory Student Center Theatre lobby followed by a presentation by at 7 p.m. including a question-and-answer session. Burger was born in Poland and when the Nazis invaded, she and her brother were taken to a ghetto in Poland. They lived there with other kids and the handicapped, watching as they were slowly killed. Burger and her brother came close to death many times. The two escaped and lived in the Partisan camp from 1942-1944 when they were liberated and she immigrated to America in 1949. Her first experience with painting began at the age of 12. She became known as the tomboy who drew and painted. What followed was a lifetime commitment to the arts and her involvement in studying and creating.

A panel speaking on their experiences with Genocide will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 4, in the North Ballroom of the Lory Student Center. A question-and-answer session with the audience will follow. Panel speakers include:

– Timothy R.W. Kubik has consulted with a variety of initiatives designed to increase student engagement with the ever-changing world of the 21st century. Currently senior history and social studies consultant to the Asia Society’s International Studies Schools Network and national faculty member at the Buck Institute for Education, Kubik has written curriculum and taught courses at the elementary, secondary, post-secondary and graduate level; conducted numerous workshops on simulations-based learning; and is a vocal advocate for a genuinely student-centered revival of lifelong education in his home state of Colorado;
– Michael Ditchfield is a best selling author, former professional athlete and accomplished speaker on the Third World. As a Goodwill Ambassador to Africa for Project C.U.R.E., he has worked in Rwanda with the orphans of the 1994 genocide, establishing a branch of the Sports for Peace Foundation. He was also instrumental in bringing sports into Project Mercy in Ethiopia through the Cunningham Foundation; and
– Omhagain Dayeen represents the Darfur Province in the Sudan Association and is head of the women and children’s section in Denver. In the capital of the country, she studied and earned a bachelor’s degree in Art Education and a master’s degree in Education. She taught at the university until she was eventually forced to leave Sudan. Now a refugee in the United States, she continues her studies with the hope of helping her people, victims of genocide and teaching them that education is the key to a life of peace.

The week will conclude with a memorial service at 4 p.m., Friday, March 5 in the Lory Student Center Grey Rock Room.

Holocaust & Genocide Awareness Week is sponsored by Hillel, Students for Holocaust Awareness, ASCSU and ASAP. For more information and a complete list of events, contact Josh Samet, Hillel campus director at Colorado State University at (970) 224-4246 or visit the Web site

All events are free and open to the public through funding provided by the Associated Students of Colorado State University, Hillel of Colorado and the Association for Student Activity Programming.