JSO honors victims at Holocaust Remembrance Week

The week was concluded by the reading of Holocaust victims' names at Speakers Circle.
Rebecca Erbelding, an archivist at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, speaks to a crowd Wednesday at the Hillel Foundation. Activities in the Holocaust Remembrance Week included a reading of victims' names Friday at Speakers Circle.

The Jewish Student Organization brought light to the past with Holocaust Remembrance Week.

To begin the week, JSO held a showing of Defiance at Hillel. The movie is about a group of Jewish brothers that save Jews during World War II.

The main event during the week was a presentation by Rebecca Erbelding, an archivist at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The presentation was entitled "Collecting Holocaust Artifacts: A Race Against Time."

“One of the things that I’m going to be talking about is making this a week to be remembered,” Erbelding said. “Like, how do we use artifacts, archives and people’s stories, to tell a larger story of the Holocaust? How can we use these small, personal, intimate collections to commemorate the Holocaust as a whole?”

Erbelding said she wants students to understand the large impact of the Holocaust.

“I really want people to get out of it is that the Holocaust wasn’t just isolated in Germany and Poland," she said. "It was really a worldwide event."

One of the main stories Erbelding wanted to expose to students happened in a town in Ukraine. During World War II, the Germans came into the town followed by a group called the Einsatzgruppen. The group forced Jews to the outskirts of town and killed them, she said.

“We have been struggling since we’ve been open to figure out a way to tell that story," Erbelding said. "These people don’t show up on lists. They didn’t write memoirs. There were no survivors of these towns.”

A French Catholic priest working with the museum went to one of these towns named Busk and excavated one of the mass graves, Erbelding said.

“He found 15,000 bullets," she said. "He found machine gun casings. He found guns, and he found five small rings that had been taken off. This is one of the last acts that these people did before they were shot, is that they hid these rings. He found them and they are now part of the museum’s collection. We’re trying to figure out how to use them to help us tell the story of the 1.5 million people who the Holocaust for them was over in a matter of days because they were just shot.”

Director of Mizzou Hillel Kerry Hollander said it is important for people to remember what happened during the Holocaust.

“(The importance of this week is) remembering those who died for faith, but it extended to those people who were perhaps not even practicing Judaism as a faith, based on their genetics, based on the fact that they were born to Jews,” Hollander said.

To conclude the week, students read off the names of Holocaust victims in Speakers Circle.

JSO President Sherman Fabes said it’s important to remember the death of 12 million people that was brought upon by the leaders of Europe.

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