In the blustery wind on Friday, volunteers gathered to plant flags in the ground in a symbolic remembrance of the millions of lives lost more than 60 years ago in the Holocaust.
The Holocaust is one of the most infamous genocides in history, and CSU is hosting the 16th annual Holocaust and Genocide Awareness week to remind students and people of the Fort Collins community about the horrors and injustice that is possible.
The week of events and presentations is sponsored by Hillel, Students for Holocaust and Genocide Awareness, The Associated Students of CSU and ASAP.
â€œThe theme of this week is â€˜Untold Stories of Genocideâ€™ because people might be able to see the specific numbers, but they canâ€™t always know about the stories within the numbers,â€ said Rabbi Allison Peiser, Hillel campus director at CSU.
Events during this week include a reading of the names of people murdered during the Holocaust, a screening of a movie, discussions with professors and speeches from survivors from both the Holocaust and the recent genocide in Rwanda. A full list of events can be found on their website at holocaust.colostate.edu.
â€œIâ€™ve heard some students say they donâ€™t want to come because they donâ€™t want to be sad,â€ Peiser said. â€œBut I think that sometimes itâ€™s important to put ourselves in that place of sadness because it might bring us to action.â€
Students from different parts of campus joined together to plan and volunteer at events for this coming week, including freshman engineering major Nick Kennard and senior English major Raqual Tarantino.
Kennard got involved with the planning committee when he heard about the week at the Student Involvement fair. He is acting on the mentality that if we do not remember and teach people about the events that happened in the past, â€œthey will happen again.â€
Tarantino came to volunteer because of her work with the Resources for Disabled Students office.
â€œResources for Disabled Students is closely connected to the cause,â€ Tarantino said. â€œAnd it is important to remember how crazy and terrible things can happen.â€
It is not known by many that disabled people in the Nazi regime were the first to be killed off. In the hospitals, any person that had something physically or mentally wrong with them became a lab rat for the gassing practices that were later used at the concentration camps, said Gina Burd, the staff interpreter for the Resources for Disabled Students office and a long supporter of this remembrance week.
â€œ[This week is important] to see different perspectives of the Holocaust and to understand that forgiveness is not easily achieved, but that it is important to try,â€ Burd said. â€œYou canâ€™t fight hate with hate, but with forgiveness. Hate is what causes the problem in the first place.â€
â€œWhile we have the phrase â€˜Never againâ€™ associated with the Holocaust, it is obvious that genocides continue to happen, â€œ Peiser said. â€œThe hope is by acknowledging that genocides continue to happen and by doing this sort of education that maybe someday there can be some kind of prevention.â€
Collegian writer Nicolle Fagan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
List of Events
Monday-Tuesday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Litanys of Martyrs on the LSC Plaza
Monday 7 p.m. Survivor Eric Cahn speakers in the LSC North Ballroom
` Wednesday noon Women at Noon Presentation in LSC, room 220
Wednesday 7 p.m. Screening of â€œSarahâ€™s Keyâ€ in the Behavioral Sciences Building, room 131
Thursday 7 p.m. Genocide in Rwanda speaker Dr. Nyiransekaye in the LSC North Ballroom
Friday Noon Memorials to Nazi Persecution of Gay Men and Lesbians LSC, rooms 224-226
Friday 3 p.m. Memorial Service & Take Down Field of Flags LSC, rooms 224-226
More information available about weekly events at holocaust.colostate.edu