For close to 40 years, Northeastern University has been a leader in commemoration of the Holocaust. Beginning in 1977, the University has observed an annual Holocaust Remembrance Week, organized by the Office of Spiritual Life between 1977 and 1991 and since 1991 by the Holocaust Awareness Committee (HAC).
This year, the HAC has been partnering with the Northeastern Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Group DRS Project Toolkit Pilot Program to develop new tools for online scholarship. Few, if any, institutions of higher learning offer as robust a program of Holocaust commemoration as Northeastern. To highlight these achievements and make them available to scholars and interested laypeople alike, we are digitizing key documents from the physical archival materials currently housed in the Snell Library Archives and Special Collections. The digitized materials will be stored in Northeastern’s Digital Repository Service and content will be curated and displayed online in an engaging and accessible manner.
According to retired History professor Gerald Herman, Holocaust Awareness Week originated when instructors of a required course in Western and World Civilizations wanted to involve their students directly in learning about genocide. At first, the events focused on a day or two of survivor testimonies, which took place throughout the day in the dorms to allow for maximum student attendance. Today, the week’s events have expanded to include the Philip N. Backstrom, Jr. Survivor Lecture series; the Robert Salomon Morton Lecture Series; the Bill Giessen Film Series; and the President’s Breakfast, which features a faculty speaker and a presentation by the Gideon Klein Student Scholar.
The mission of the HAC is to publicly remember the Holocaust each year, not only as historical fact and a memorial to its millions of victims, but also as a warning that the horrors of the past must never be repeated. Programs are presented that bear witness to the Holocaust’s events and explore issues arising out of the war of extermination against the Jews and other groups targeted by the Nazis. Speakers ask how lessons learned from the Holocaust can be further applied to contemporary issues.
We look forward to unveiling the curated exhibit in the fall. In the meantime, if you have archival material relating to the annual Holocaust Awareness Week, especially of the early years, or would like to share memories of the workings of the Holocaust Awareness Committee or of particular events, please contact Dr. Jennifer Sartori at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-373-7045.
Read the rest of the Spring 2016 Haverim Newsletter here.