This past week, the Lafayette Hillel Society carried out a series of events to commemorate the lives lost during the Holocaust and to educate students on its history.
On Monday, Hillel Vice President of Social Action Olivia Newman ’22, along with Social Action team members Amanda Graf ’24 and Luc Dobin ’22, placed signs on the quad detailing the horrific statistics and facts of the Holocaust as the first event of Holocaust Remembrance Week. On Tuesday, Hillel set up a table in Farinon to allow students to make keychains to attach to their backpacks in order to remember the six million Jews killed. On Wednesday, they hosted a Holocaust survivor livestream.
“To hear from a survivor, especially because many of the survivors at this point are very old, is really part of the purpose,” Newman said. “There’s not too many years left where people can hear a Holocaust survivor speak…so people can hear firsthand what happened and people’s experiences.”
Newman said that one of the main priorities of the week was education and awareness for Lafayette students.
“I hope people take away more knowledge about the Holocaust…and just the prevalence of the Jewish community on campus as well,” Newman said. “I think sometimes it can go unnoticed that there are a lot of us here.”
Graf wrote in an email that she hopes that through knowledge and accountability, people can prevent something like the Holocaust from happening again.
“Raising awareness about what happened and inspiring others to start celebrating instead of hating our differences are a couple of ways we can ensure that something like this never happens again,” Graf wrote. “I hope people learn how important it is for history not to repeat itself.”
In response to some expressed by students about the signs on the quad, both Newman discomfort and Graf said that the discomfort is what is important. However, the social action team redid the signs this year in order to take out some potentially triggering language.
“The facts are uncomfortable, but they’re necessary to see. And as long as I feel like they’re not actively harmful to another group of people…I think that they’re necessary to be around. And I think it’s important for us to sort of sit with that discomfort…and see the facts and recognize that this did happen,” Newman said.
A panel on “The Universal Implications of the Holocaust” by Germany Professor Dennis Johannßen, Jewish Studies Professor Monika Rice and Government and Law Professor Ilan Peleg will be held on today at 12:15 pm