Jan. 27, individuals from the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education held an Observance of United Nations International Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. The event was from 10 a.m – 1 p.m. in the Maura Solarium.
The special event was put together by Seton Hill University’s Holocaust Center intern Rhett Baldwin and Wilda Kaylor, associate director for The National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education. The purpose of the event was to provide an informational session about the Holocaust, as well as host an interactive game for faculty, staff and students. This event marks the liberation of Auschwitz on this day in 1945.
“Our Center is a member of the Association of Holocaust Organizations, a national and international group,” informed Kaylor. “As a member, we are charged with observing the UN commemoration of the Holocaust which takes place on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Russian army on Jan. 27, 1945. This is the date for the main observance in Europe.”
Informational pamphlets and books provided by the UN were displayed on a table in the Maura Solarium with material on where the concentration camps were and the different ways people were hauled in and forced to work hard just for the hope of living. A video was also displayed showing bystander accounts of the liberation and how they felt during that time.
Cut out footprint strips were there to provide an interactive game so individuals in attendance of this event could have a chance to write steps toward ending genocide. “You can leave a message of how you can stop genocide today,” said Baldwin. ‘We Won’t Forget’ was a big theme for the footprints.
“Unfortunately, genocide continues in the world today in places like Darfur and in Iraq under ISIS. The purpose of this event is to raise awareness of this problem. People can take action by learning more from the United Nations website and by supporting organizations which work to prevent genocide. On a personal level, people can pledge to counter hate wherever and whenever they encounter it,” said Kaylor.
The event gained much recognition from students and others on their way to classes and meetings. Baldwin pulled people in with a yellow and black banner that hung above the display, offering information about the event and what it entailed.
“The event went very smoothly, a lot of research and time went into it,” said Baldwin. “I haven’t done the event before, but I’ve heard from other people the event was pretty successful.”
The information in the pamphlets, books and videos are just a fraction of what events occurred in 1945. “It’s very important because without it, it’d be harder for people to learn from past mistakes and to prevent future genocide from happening,” said Baldwin.
“I think it’s important to observe this International Day of Holocaust Remembrance as a reminder of where extreme hate can lead and to counter the Holocaust denial and antisemitism that exist in the world,” said Kaylor.