With the continuing violence in the Middle East and the impending war in Iraq, the media has become an important tool in shaping public discourse. The 24th Conference on the Holocaust, which starts today, will analyze the role of various forms of media in shaping the world’s and individual’s perceptions through current events and its portrayal of the Holocaust.
“Examining the Holocaust’s connection to modern-day events will hopefully provide students with a greater understanding of the historical basis for many of the (United States’) current humanitarian initiatives, and promote a greater moral consciousness amongst students,” conference chair Courtney Rangen and LSA senior said. “Most importantly, the conference will raise awareness of the power – good and bad – the media has to record histories and trigger action, demonstrate the importance of tolerance and educate our community about the horrors that arise through racial and ethnic prejudices.”
LSA freshman Jillian Steinhauser, a member of the conference organizing committee, said the conference also aims to raise awareness and educate people about the Holocaust.
“I believe that the only way to ensure that something as horrendous as the Holocaust never happens again is to teach people about it, and that is why we have the conference here at the U of M – to educate and remember,” Steinhauser added.
Organized by University Hillel, the conference will feature Washington-based CBS radio and television correspondent Dan Raviv as the keynote speaker and several Holocaust survivors. Raviv will address the media’s representation of the Holocaust and how it would be reported in today’s media industry.
“We wanted someone who would be able to speak about how the press covered the Holocaust during and after the war, and to be able to relate that to more current issues involving press coverage of major events,” Rangen said.
One of the planned events is the screening of “The Power of Good,” an Emmy Award-winning documentary about Nicholas Winton, an Englishman who saved around 600 children from Czechoslovakia during the months before the outbreak of World War II. Elisabeth Maxwell, a historian who is partly responsible for uncovering the story of Winton, will speak following the screening.
The conference will also feature an art exhibit called “A Young Girl at Ghetto Terezin: 1941-1944 Drawings by Helga Weissov