Nazi crimes evoke memory of like abuses

BY ANN BEISCH
For the Daily
Published November 10, 2004

One of the most tragic, unforgettable days of the Jews’
oppression under Nazi Germany was commemorated yesterday.

Eston Bond
LSA Junior Nicole Kruz looks at a display on the Diag yesterday, to commemorate Kristallnacht. The display aimed to get their thoughts on the tragic event and human rights abuses. (MIKE HULSEBUS/Daily)

The 66th anniversary of Kristallnacht — or the
“Night of Broken Glass,” which consisted of organized
Nazi raids against Jewish homes and synagogues on Nov. 9 and 10,
1938 — was commemorated on the Diag in a two-part event to
remember and reflect on the violation of human rights under the
Third Reich and around the world.

The first half of the day included a display of quotations meant
to spark insight in passersby, such as: “Peace or Justice:
which would you choose,” or, “Is it possible to
forgive?” Students wrote down their various opinions on a
sheet of paper provided below. Among the remarks were written,
“You can forgive, but you can’t forget” and
“I will never forgive.”

“The Holocaust is not just a Jewish problem, it is a
representation of the human rights violations,” said LSA
senior Jeremy Lacks, co-chair of the Kristallnacht Commemoration.
“We have expanded our focus, instead of just dealing with the
Holocaust.”

That meant remembering other atrocities that have taken place
during the past century. These events were represented by various
photographs, art objects and quotations pasted on the display. On
one side, child laborers in Pakistan were shown next to a
photograph of brutalized Pakistani women. Another section of the
display showed a Rwandan woman staring at hundreds of human skulls
thrown into a ditch as a result of the 1994 civil war in the
country.

Startling statistics were posted as well, including, “1.5
million Armenians have been killed by Turks from
1915-1921.”

“We are putting this on so that people will
remember,” said LSA junior Jillian Steinhaurer, who helped
man the station. “History can only repeat itself if we allow
it to happen. It’s our responsibility to be informed and
active to ensure the safety of our future.”

The second part of the commemoration included a speakers’
panel on human rights violations in the Vandenburg Room of the
Michigan League later yesterday. The panel was presented by the
University’s Hillel group, which is also organizing the 26th
annual commemorative Conference on the Holocaust from March 15 to
23.

Among the speakers was history Prof. Sidney Bolkosky, who has
conducted interviews with more than 200 survivors of the Holocaust
and now teaches at the University’s Dearborn campus.
Contributing to the discussion on global human rights violations
were LSA Humanities Institute Prof. Jose Kagabo — who spoke
about the Rwandan genocide — and RC lecturer Javed Nazir, who
spoke on problems with human rights in Pakistan.

Planners of the commemoration said they intended the day to keep
the student body aware of the human abuses that have occurred
throughout history, in order to prevent them from happening again.
The sentiments of some of the attendees indicated that the event
was successful in this regard. One message on the Diag board for
example, read, “If it were not for our personal memory, we
would cease to progress as rational humans.”