SRU hosting Holocaust remembrance speaker, April 28
The gate to the Auschwitz concentration camp, with its “Arbeit macht frei” sign ("work sets you free"), is a reminder of the nearly 1 million people who were killed there under the Nazi regime during the Holocaust. Slippery Rock University will host “Reflections on the Holocaust: Reaching Across an Ocean,” 3:30 p.m., April 28, at the Miller Theater.
April 20, 2022
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University's Holocaust Remembrance Program will offer a different type of message this year, but the goal remains the same: to educate the public about the genocide that took place during World War II. SRU will host "Reflections on the Holocaust: Reaching Across an Ocean," 3:30 p.m., April 28, at the Miller Theater at the Performing Arts Center, sponsored by the SRU History, Political Science and Music departments. The event is free and open to the public.
In past years, SRU invited Holocaust survivors to speak on campus, but few are still alive and partners such as the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum haven't been able to offer in-person presenters because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, as part of SRU's annual program that was started by the late SRU political science professor Richard Martin in the 1990s, this year's Holocaust Remembrance lecture will be delivered by an educator and child of a Holocaust survivor, and will feature a musical performance as well.
The guest speaker will be Lynne Rosenbaum Ravas, a volunteer with the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh and former teacher fellow with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. A retired English teacher at the secondary level, Rosenbaum Ravas has volunteered with the Federal Executive Board's Hate Crimes Working Group, the FBI's Citizens' Academy, and other organizations in the Pittsburgh area.
"We're excited to have Lynne because she comes highly recommended and her presentations have been well-received," said Eric Tuten, assistant professor of history, who is the HRP director. "We're very grateful for her willingness to give multiple presentations as we expand our community outreach."
In addition to the lecture at SRU, Rosenbaum Ravas will give presentations on the morning of April 28 at Slippery Rock Area and Grove City Area high schools as part SRU's HRP.
The event at SRU will also include a musical duet featuring flutist Kathy Melago, professor of music, and pianist Glenn Utsch, assistant professor of music, performing a sonata by the late Czech composer Erwin Schulhoff, whose music career was prematurely ended by the rise of the Nazi regime and who died of tuberculosis while in a Nazi prison camp in 1942.
"It's important to remember the Holocaust and to teach students so that, as they go out in the world, they are aware of people who have died because of political and racial violence and genocide," Tuten said. "Remembering the Holocaust might play a role in helping save lives in the future and alleviate these problems."
Tuten, who teaches a class at SRU titled "Mass Killing and Genocide in the Modern World," was careful not to say "so history won't repeat itself," because genocides have continued to occur since World War II, including 800,000 deaths in Rwanda during three months in 1994. An estimated 12 million people, half of whom were Jews, died under the Nazi regime from 1933-45. The systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of Jews wasn't a documented policy, known as the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question," until 1941.
"There's plenty of information that indicates how governments have deliberately tried to kill certain groups of people," Tuten said. "It's important that we continue to write about it, speak about it, and do what we can to prevent it from happening. One of the obstacles is nation-states having sovereignty, which creates a challenge for the international community to try to stop genocide from occurring. A government might come to power and say, 'We are a nation of people and these other people living in our country are not part of our nation, so we can attack them.' The drawing of nation-state boundaries has made it difficult to stop. There are no easy answers, other than trying to educate people and put pressure on governments to take actions in these situations."
For more information about the HRP, contact Tuten at 724.738.4913 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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