Louisiana Christian University Hosts Remembrance Event for International Holocaust Day
The United Nations General Assembly designated January 27th as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The UN urges everyone to honor the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
ABC News Reporter Keisha Swafford has the story on a local university commemorated this day.
Louisiana Christian University History Professor Dr. Christine Reese developed a program to educate students on the Holocaust.
“This year our program is called Before Auschwitz: The Forgotten Holocaust in Ukraine.” Most students when they learn about the Holocaust, they learn about Auschwitz and the horrors of the gas chambers that were there, but they’re not as knowledgeable about the fact that even before the Nazis started constructing the gas chambers that they were engaging in mass executions of Jews and other undesirable peoples in the Eastern parts of Europe that they had conquered.”
This year’s program focused on the Babyn Yar Massacre where nearly 34 thousand Jews were killed in 2 days.
Reese says, “After the massacre took place, the Germans tried to cover it up. They tried to fill in the ravine to kinda hide their crimes and later on, they tried to exhume the bodies and burn them to further destroy evidence of what they had done.”
She invited students to watch Holocaust survivor testimonies.
Holocaust Survivor Sarra Gezentsvey says, “And they said to Jewish people we will transfer from Kiev to another place so please take all your goods and we will transfer you to another place and Jewish people trust them, but all of them were killed in Babyn Yar. In Babyn Yar, 100,000 people, by the way, not only Jewish people, but Jewish people and all colonies, party members, non-Jewish as well.”
Laura Aime learned what the survivors witnessed at the Babyn Yar Ravine.
“I really enjoyed being able to hear these videos just because I think that by hearing these first-hand accounts and doing that, I was able to understand the personal impact it had on these people and to hear it from them really brings home how awful it was.”
Reese hopes this remembrance event will encourage students to understand Holocaust survivors.
“We want students to be concerned and care about the people that we meet around them so if they happen to see instances of hate, we hope that they would stand up and say, ‘Don’t do that.’ And be able to prevent problems happening before they even start.”
Reese says studying history can teach students how to develop empathy.
Laura Aime says, “There’s really no words to describe but hearing it from them make it so much more real and seeing these people how survived it and I think it really just makes it feel so much more heavy and so much more as it should because this is a really sad topic and awful thing that happened.”
She encourages students to investigate the Holocaust and learn from the past.
This event is just one example of the educational programs inspired by the Holocaust.