Editorial: Connecting to the Holocaust

Despite the monumental historical impact of the Holocaust, Ann Weiss’ discussion on Kristallnacht, held Tuesday in Trout Auditorium, was not well attended and not many people on campus even knew it took place.

Obviously the Holocaust was an extremely important event in the history of humankind. Why, then, was the discussion on Tuesday so poorly attended? Exactly two months ago marked the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Members of the University and campus communities spoke to a packed auditorium. Students, faculty and Lewisburg community members spilled out the door in an effort to show their support to all those affected by the events that took place.

Clearly it is much easier for students on campus to feel a connection to the events that took place surrounding the Sept. 11 since all of us were alive and, for the most part, witnessed first-hand the events and aftereffects of that tragic day. Is that why students perhaps don’t feel as strong of a connection to the Holocaust? We all know of its importance and there exist many students and faculty who have lost grandparents, or great grandparents because of it. However, is it because we cannot form a direct emotional connection to what happened in the mid 1940s as easily as we can to what happened in 2001?

In addition, the anniversary of the Sept. 11 took place on a Sunday this year, which allowed for many more students to attend the remembrance. It is much easier for a student to put aside time to attend a speech or a ceremony on a weekend than on a weekday because busy schedules simply won’t allow some students the time to do so.

Advertisement is also an issue. Bucknell Hillel put flyers around campus to alert the campus of the speaker but there weren’t many other forms of easily accessible advertisements. This is not a dig at the administration or anyone involved in planning the events. However, should more emphasis be put on a speaker addressing issues of the Holocaust or a speaker discussing the importance of recycling and food waste?

Should we as students care more about the Holocaust than we currently do? As can be shown by the meager turnout, we all apparently have better things to do on a Tuesday night than go to Ann Weiss’ lecture. This is upsetting because, if we keep this up, opting out of learning about the implications of the Holocaust, its meaning might be forgotten.

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