It’s critical that we ensure our students today are not shielded from a deep understanding of the atrocities of the past, and we need to tell this history in many different ways in order to protect the truth and ensure that it endures.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion • April 15, 2022
U Remembers reflects on the historical effects of racial discrimination and invites us to make connections between the past and contemporary social issues. This year’s theme, “Protecting the Truth,” will emphasize the importance of holding each other accountable for teaching the truth and honoring the memory and legacy of Holocaust victims.
Eunice Contreras: Hello, everyone. Thank you for watching this video. My name is Eunice Contreras and I’m Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion’s Events Manager. I’m here today in the company of two professor faculty members that will help us give us some more information about U Remembers this year. I’ll let them introduce themselves. So, Julie, why don’t we start with you?
Julie Ault: Yes, hi. Thanks for having us, Eunice. I am Julie Ault. I’m an assistant professor of German and European history in the history department here at the U. Today, I’m going to speak briefly about U Remembers and why it is so important to host U Remembers events at the University of Utah. So Holocaust Remembrance events in general, international days of remembrance, or as we call them here at the U: U Remembers, they are intended to commemorate the victims of Nazi genocidal policies during World War Two and what we now call the Holocaust, and specifically remembrance days charge us to remember the intentional and systematic murder of 6 million Jews in that time period. Jews under Nazi policy were defined as a racial other and a threat to Germany’s existence. And so Hitler and Germans more broadly used the cover of World War Two to isolate, target, and ultimately commit genocide against Europe’s Jews.
So we take that event in the past and connect it to the present to consider and talk about a number of ongoing issues, right? And so first, the days remember that — U Remembers, right — is supposed to remember and honor the victims as well as survivors. And then the second goal of U Remembers is to educate and to think about the Holocaust, how it happened, why it happened, or to consider some aspect of the Holocaust and connect it to the present, to think about ongoing semitism and discrimination. And ultimately, of course, a long-term sort of more abstract goal then is to use that education to hopefully prevent future genocides.
Eunice Contreras: Thank you, Julie, for the explanation. I was going to go to you, Nadja, so please go ahead.
Nadja Durbach: Hi, I’m Nadja Durbach. I’m also a professor in the History Department who’s been involved with the U Remembers events, and this year our theme is going to be “Protecting the Truth.” And we chose this with the resurgence in antisemitism in the United States and the persistence of Holocaust denial or attempts to diminish the scope and violence of the genocide. It’s really critical that we work to protect the truth of the Holocaust, and we do this by making space for the testimony of eyewitnesses and victims of the Nazi regime. But we also do this by ensuring that young people and our students today are not actually shielded from a deep understanding of the atrocities of the past.
And we need to tell this history in many different ways in order to protect the truth and ensure that it endures. And so the events we’re going to do this year, we’re going to have an event called “A Holocaust Survivor Story,” which will be testimony from someone who was an eyewitness to a victim of the Holocaust. Then we’re going to have a roundtable on teaching the graphic novel “Maus” which is also the story of a Holocaust survivor. And it’s a graphic novel that has been used in schools and universities but is also being the victim of censorship over the past year. There will also be a film screening at the UMFA Auditorium of a movie called “Dreams of Hope,” and there will be Holocaust Remembrance Day event as well. You can find information on all of these events associated with U Remembers this year at the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion website (diversity.utah.edu/ur).
Eunice Contreras: Thank you, Nadja. All super important information and education for us all to attend this event. So U Remembers will take place at the university from April 25th to April 28th, and as Nadja mentioned, if you want to learn more about these events — some of them are virtual — you can visit diversity.utah.edu and find all the information and the links for the events there. Thank you, Julie and Nadja, for being with me here today and explaining to us why U Remembers is so important here at the U. Have a great day.
U Remembers 2022: Protecting the Truth
April 25 – 28, 2022
International Remembrance Day on January 27 marked the 77th year since the liberation of Auschwitz and the revelation of Nazi crimes against Europe’s Jews. With fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors alive to tell their stories, White supremacist and antisemitic groups have worked to erase, distort, and censor the horrors of the Holocaust. Inaccurately taught history classes and banned books – forms of historical erasure, censorship, and cultural control – have become more frequent across the United States. It is more urgent than ever to advocate and fight for historical events to be accurately taught and preserved for posterity. “Protecting the Truth” will emphasize the importance of holding each other accountable for truthfully honoring the legacy of Holocaust victims.
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