Nazi crimes evoke memory of like abuses

Nazi crimes evoke memory of like abuses

The Michigan Daily
Nov 10 2004

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)

By Ann Beisch, For the Daily
November 10, 2004

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

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.”