For the second consecutive year, about 20 students gathered Sunday morning at University of Michigan Hillel to plant daffodils in memory of children who died in the Holocaust.
The event was sponsored by Students for Holocaust Awareness, Remembrance, and Education, an organization that brings Holocaust survivors to the University to share their stories with younger generations. The event was in partnership with the Daffodil Project, a worldwide program that aims to honor the 1.5 million children who perished during the Holocaust by planting 1.5 million daffodils.
Daffodils are used for the project because their yellow color represents Star of David patches that German police required Jews to wear during the Holocaust. The flower also represents resilience because they return each spring after being dormant in the winter months.
This year, SHARE members planted 360 daffodils, twice as many as their first year participating. The project is subsidized by fundraising donations and contributions from SHARE.
At Sunday’s event, SHARE’s co-President Daniela Friedman, an LSA junior, said she believed the event is one way to keep lessons from the Holocaust from being lost as more and more survivors pass away each year.
“We’re trying to learn from the past, remember the Holocaust and its victims and then teach future generations how to act more tolerantly,” she said.
Romana Solent, a Holocaust survivor, also spoke at the event, sharing her story with attendees and participating in a panel discussion with four other Holocaust survivors.
Like Friedman, Solent said remembering and discussing the Holocaust is the key to preventing future tragedies.
“It was a most horrific event in our history, and it repeats itself,” Solent said. “You see genocides all over the world. You see right now anti-Semitism rising.”
LSA senior Daniel Gordon, who attended the event, also noted the role of college students in passing on the stories of the Holocaust as the number of survivors decreases.
“Because it’s now so many years later, there are fewer and fewer survivors who are alive to tell their own personal stories,” Gordon said. “So it’s now our job to pass on their stories to remind of what can happen, and what did happen.”
LSA junior Sara Bender-Bier, a member of SHARE, emphasized the significance of the project in a global sense and the role of the Daffodil Project in affecting people of all faiths.
“When we have people who advocate hate, it’s important to remember that whatever group there is, whatever minority group there is, we won’t let them get swept away by the current,” Bender-Bier said. “This is a good reminder in any sense, not just Judaism.”