From survivor’s stories and artwork to discussions on how ordinary people can commit extraordinary evil, Holocaust Awareness Week, Sunday through Friday, will offer numerous opportunities to learn about the Holocaust through the theme, “If you save one life, you save the world entire.”
The theme of this year’s week is an adaptation of a passage from the Talmud that reads: “Whoever destroys a single life is as guilty as through he had destroyed the entire world; and whoever rescues a single life earns as much merit as though he had rescued the entire world.”
Aaron Pinsker, co-chair of Students for Holocaust Awareness, sees this passage as particularly important during a time when world tensions are high.
“I think this passage truly captures the idea that the value of every life is equal,” Pinsker said in a press release. “We should do what we can to help each other.”
Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Aaron Hass will headline the week’s events with a talk titled, “How Ordinary People Can Commit Extraordinary Evil.” As a child of Holocaust survivors, his lecture will explore why humans can show prejudice, discrimination and commit murder. He will speak today at 7 p.m. in the Lory Student Center North Ballroom.
Along with Hass’ lecture, artist and Holocaust survivor Ida Piller-Greenspan will show her artwork in a show titled “When the World Closed Its Doors,” in the LSC Art Lounge throughout the week.
Other events include a survivors’ panel, author discussions and book signings, plays and a service to remember the lives lost during the Holocaust.
“I think it’s the variety of what we’re offering (that is the highlight of the week),” said Hedy Berman, director of Hillel. “It’s such a diverse offering instead of just lecture after lecture.”
Berman also believes taking part of Holocaust Awareness Week is important because as time goes by the generation of Holocaust survivors gets further away.
“I think as the generation of Holocaust survivors gets further away, having Holocaust survivors here and being able to hear them, we can be the ones to continue the story,” Berman said.