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Holocaust Education Week Begins on Sunday

Students aim to educate each other about all aspects of the Holocaust

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Holocaust Education Week in Halifax will take place from Nov. 2 to 8, 2014. Four of five student-geared events will be held on both Dalhousie and King’s campuses.

This year, Dal students Yasmine Mucher and Shael Brown, and King’s student Ashley Promislow will assist in several of the events scheduled for the week.

The main goals of the week are historical education and raising awareness of the Holocaust. Mucher also hopes to bring equal attention to the many groups of people—not just Polish Jews—who were persecuted during the Holocaust at the student-organized Nov. 2 event.

The event, entitled “Eliminating Diversity: A Multi-Sensory Exploration of the Communities Affected by the Holocaust,” will be held in Dal’s McCain building in the form of a self-guided gallery tour from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“Obviously we’re talking about Poland,” Mucher said of the country well-known for its history in WWII. “But we’re going to have the same amount of focus on Greece and Yugoslavia and Lithuania and Latvia, lots of places that got hit very hard by the Holocaust, but don’t necessarily get the same recognition.”

Mucher mentioned that there would be focus points not only on Jews, but also on the persecution of black Germans, Roma and Sinti peoples, Jehovah’s Witnesses and homosexuals.

“It’s important to say, especially when we’re here at Dal and there’s a really big community, that we’re recognizing [the Holocaust] isn’t just the Jews,” she said. “Lots of people were affected by this.”

The students’ second event on Nov. 3, where they hope that Holocaust survivor Philip Riteman will appear, will be held on King’s campus, room TBA, at 7 p.m. Mucher explained that the group wanted to do something different from a typical memorial.

“How do we get people involved and get people talking?” Mucher said. “And again, how do we make [the Holocaust] more relevant to today?”

For Mucher, the solution lies in fostering a connection between those with a strong connection to the Holocaust, like Jews, and people who do not necessarily have such a connection.

“So, we’re doing a workshop on Holocaust denial,” Mucher said. “And if Mr. Riteman does happen to come…it’ll be less of a lecture from him and more of a [question and answer].”

Holocaust denial refers to the belief that either the Holocaust did not happen or that the events have been grossly exaggerated. The event is titled “Multiple Narratives, Not All of Them True: Understanding and Responding to Holocaust Denial.” Mucher said it will be discussion-based and involve critical thinking of why Holocaust denial exists and what can be done to respond to it.

Other events for the 11th annual Holocaust Education Week include films, discussions, guest speakers and live performances.

Mucher said that the students have a special performance planned for the closing program, “Night of Broken Glass: 76th Anniversary of Kristallnacht.” This takes place Nov. 8 at Dalhousie’s McCain Building in the Scotiabank Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.

All events for students are free of charge and everyone is encouraged to attend.

Holocaust Education Week is presented by the Atlantic Jewish Council. Hillel of Atlantic Canada also hosts Mucher, Brown and Promislow’s events. Brochures are available around the Dalhousie campus and within the community. For more information and a detailed schedule of events, visit the Atlantic Jewish Council’s website at www.theajc.ns.ca.

 

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