Remembrance Week Starts Today
Storyteller Friedman Highlights Holocaust Eventsby Nick Stillman
The Hillel organization, the Oberlin Christian Fellowship (OCF), the Newman Catholic Community and the Ecumenical Christians of Oberlin will unite this weekend to host what the organizations hope will become an annual Holocaust Remembrance Week.
Events begin Friday, as the three Christian organizations involved will host a joint Shabbat, with services commencing at 5:30 p.m. in Talcott Hall. However, Sunday may prove to be the highlight of the weekend, as renowned Holocaust storyteller Ina Friedman will lecture on Christian resistance during the Holocaust. Junior Rachel Garland, a second year Hillel member, proved instrumental in allowing for Friedman to visit Oberlin as a guest lecturer. "Ina's a good friend of mine from home [Boston]," Garland said. "She's always looking for a place to speak to spread her message."
Friedman has traveled to all points of the globe in order to collate a massive collection of stories from Holocaust survivors and those of non-Jewish descent aiding in resistance against the Nazis. Garland was unsure as to exactly what the audience should expect from Friedman's lecture. "My guess is that there will be some storytelling," she hypothesized. Friedman will speak Sunday in Wilder 101 at 7:30 p.m.
Monday night will feature a Tappan Square-based vigil where students will congregate to share their own personal poems, readings and stories. "It's pretty laid back," said Hillel co-chair Rebecca Press. "Candles are placed around the triangle in Wilder bowl and whoever comes sits in a circle and tells stories and reads poems in memory of those who died." As Jewish holidays last for 24 hours beginning at sunset, the vigil will officially end Tuesday evening at sundown. "It's a place to share and remember," Garland added.
A continuous reading of the names of Holocaust victims on the Wilder steps and an all-day movie showing in Mudd library constitute the final jointly sponsored event of Holocaust remembrance week. Hillel members have signed up to read names of those killed by Hitler's army continuously for 15 minutes. In what will prove to be a powerful ceremony, volunteers will announce the name, hometown and the concentration camp in which the victims were killed.
The German department also hopes to partake in honoring Holocaust victims with a program co-sponsored by the German House. This year constitutes the first time that the department has become involved and although plans are not yet finalized, the flier publicizing the week's events says that German House will host "mini-talks regarding Germany and the Holocaust."
Junior Daniel Seigfried, OCF president, said he was elated that Hillel asked OCF to join in the week's events. "Our role is basically to observe and I feel really privileged that they felt comfortable enough to invite us." Seigfried especially expressed excitement on the inclusion of the Christian element in this year's remembrance ceremonies. "When people think of the Holocaust the only think of Jews - and rightly so - but there were a lot of other minorities suppressed by the Nazi's," he said. "It will be really cool to get a different perspective on the Holocaust," he added, referring to Friedman's lecture.
Seigfried said he hopes the alliance between Hillel and the various Christian organizations on campus will continue. "I'm really glad Hillel took the initiative to invite OCF - I think Friday's dinner will bring together people who don't have the chance to often come together," he said.
Copyright © 2000, The Oberlin Review.
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