Students for Holocaust Awareness, in conjunction with ASCSU, Chabad and Hillel, host the 18th annual Holocaust Awareness Week at Colorado State University Feb. 20-27.
“The Holocaust is such an important event in humanity’s history. We must never forget the past and certainly don’t want to relive it through the future,” said Adam Fedrid, advisor for Students for Holocaust and Hillel. “With everything going on in the world today, we must remember where we’ve been and where we are going.”
Rabbi Nissen Mangel, a survivor of the Holocaust, will share his story beginning at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 23, in the LSC Theatre. Mangel, today a renowned scholar, author, speaker and philosopher was the youngest child inmate of Nazi Auschwitz and four other concentration camps. Only 10 years old when he came to Auschwitz, Mangel evaded the gas chamber and incredibly survived three encounters with Dr. Josef Mengele, who chose who would be killed in the gas chambers and performed unscientific and deadly experiments on prisoners, and specifically children.
“There are ever fewer opportunities to hear from the survivors themselves,” said Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik, lecturer in the philosophy department, director of the Chabad Jewish Center of Northern Colorado and faculty advisor to Chabad at CSU. “Rabbi Nissen Mangel has an extraordinary story of survival, faith and triumph. From the youngest inmate at Auschwitz to the final death march, he survived against all odds to live a life of communal leadership and extraordinary scholarly achievement and contribution to the Jewish community. We are very honored and fortunate to have him here, and I encourage everyone to be part of this historic and not–to-be-missed event.”
Several events are planned throughout the week to serve as both a reminder of the victims lost and to educate the community about the Holocaust’s historical significance.
“It is important to remember that enslavement and discrimination are both still occurring internationally today,” said CSU’s Hillel Campus Director Alex Amchi. “Only a couple generations ago, this was occurring in a highly efficient, state-engineered manner in the German Reich and its spheres of influence. The worst thing is that this has been emulated on every continent, every decade of the last century by dictators like Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot. History has a tendency to follow trends, and if you do not learn from your history, you are doomed to repeat the terrible mistakes of the past.”
Additional events throughout the week include:
A Field of Flags ceremony will begin Feb. 20 and run through Feb. 27 on the Lory Student Center plaza. The flags represents those who died during the Holocaust, with each flag representing 5,000 victims.
A Litany of Martyrs will be held 10 a.m.-2 p.m. throughout the week on the Lory Student Center plaza. During this time, volunteers take turns reading names of Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Community members are welcome to volunteer for this event and can sign up at holocaust.colostate.edu.
The television documentary, “70th Anniversary of Auschwitz Liberation,” will be shown at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, in the LSC Theatre. January 2015 marks 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, the largest camp established by the Nazis. A complex of camps, Auschwitz included a concentration camp, killing center and forced-labor camps near the prewar German-Polish border. Seventy years after Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops in January 1945, several survivors, high dignitaries and state officials marked the importance of this day. A short discussion will follow the documentary.
On Friday, Feb. 27, a short Memorial Service will be held at 2 p.m. in the lobby of the Lory Student Center Theatre to close the week. Following the service, volunteers will proceed to the plaza to retire the Field of Flags.
Holocaust Awareness Week is sponsored by Students for Holocaust Awareness, Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, Chabad Jewish Student Organization, ASCSU, AePi Jewish Fraternity and RamEvents. For more information and a complete list of events, visit holocaust.colostate.edu.
All events are free and open to the public through funding provided by the Associated Students of Colorado State University, Hillel of Colorado and Chabad.