Historical shift in full view

IU’s Helene G. Simon Hillel Center is sponsoring Holocaust Remembrance Week to commemorate and educate about the horrifying and significant events of the Jewish experience in Europe. Two guests have been invited to share their connection to the events that preceded and coincided with World War II.

First is Eva Korr, a Holocaust survivor. Korr was one of many sets of twins tested in Dr. Joseph Mengele’s studies. She was at the head of the lawsuit against Bayer Corporation, which was responsible for many of the medications tested on her and her peers.

Now an Indiana resident, she shares her firsthand experiences of going through those terrible times.

Second is Danny Spungen, who has collected artifacts from the time period. He will share his pieces in a display at the Hillel Center throughout the week.

These presentations mark a shift in the way we interact with the history of the Holocaust. As more years pass, the firsthand stories slowly disappear. We will soon be unable to talk to survivors and only be able to read or watch their stories.

The words from a historian recounting an event are very different from the words of a participant who actually encountered the feelings and acts.

Growing up in our time, we have had the opportunity to learn from the Holocaust in a far more interactive way.

When we have children, though, that interaction will look similar to the study of any other historical event.

This is why the work of Spungen, a collection of resources and information from the time itself, is so valuable. We need something to serve as an example to the next generations of the acts committed by the Nazis.

The week-long Hillel event is called “Who Will Be For Me?” Soon, someone will need to be able to stand up for those who are no longer able to do so.

That puts the power into the hands of the next generation. We have the opportunity to become those with the closest relationship to the events.

By hearing the words of survivors and examining the physical remnants of the time period, we can feel even closer to the 12 million people who lost their lives because of hate.

We can be a little bit closer to being for those who can no longer be for themselves.


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