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Next week marks the 23rd annual Holocaust Awareness Week at CU.
Between Feb. 28 and March 2, an array of guest speakers will tell their stories to students and members of the Boulder community.
“The righteous individuals of the Holocaust” is this year’s theme, which focuses on people who risked their lives to save Jews.
“This is a rare opportunity for students to hear these interesting, and unfortunately classic, survivor stories first-hand,” said Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman, director of Hillel. “It’s an extremely well-rounded program this year.”
This week gives Holocaust survivors a unique opportunity to share their stories of survival with people who might not otherwise be aware of them.
“Some survivors will be here for the fourth of fifth time and some are new,” Naftalin-Kelman said. “The same goes for professors-a few are new and the returning ones are speaking on different topics than last time.”
Naftalin-Kelman said it is rare to get an opportunity to hear these accounts first-hand.
“Most of these Holocaust survivors are reaching old age and might not be around for much longer to tell their amazing stories,” Naftalin-Kelman said. “Furthermore, there are few survivors to begin with and even fewer of those feel comfortable speaking in such an open forum.”
The survivors will provide the most rewarding experience for the students, but three keynote speakers will also share their professional work regarding the Holocaust.
“The keynote speeches are world-renowned speakers and should not be missed,” Naftalin-Kelman said.
Pierre Sauvage speaks on Monday, Dr. Michael Berenbaum on Tuesday and Dr. Deborah Lipstadt on Wednesday in the Glenn Miller Ballroom at 7 p.m.
Their topics range from Mr. Sauvage’s personal experience as a child survivor of the Holocaust, to Dr. Berenbaum’s presentation of a little known story of Turkey and the Holocaust.
“It’s so important that we recognize the insane circumstances that survivors of the Holocaust experienced,” said Theo Olinger, a junior business major. “A lot of my friends are Jewish and if their grandparents hadn’t done everything they could to survive, they wouldn’t even be here today.”
Most of this week follows suit with past years, but this is still a great opportunity for students to learn this important part of history.
“My grandparents are Holocaust survivors and their stories are some of the most important things I’ve ever heard in my life,” said Stephanie Rivelli, a junior Psychology major. “Everything I know about who I am and where I come from is because of those stories.”
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Quincy Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org