March of the Living Update: A Day of Compelling Talks

Dear BU Wheelock Community,

Our trip to the March of the Living continued today with a morning series of talks led by Dr. Steve Katz, BU Professor and Director of the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies. Professor Katz provided a compelling argument for why the Holocaust stands alone as the mass killing that was done to a people because of their race with no mediating motivation such as economic productivity or disease. The Nazis and their collaborators simply wanted to rid the earth of Jews.

His talk was followed by John Farmer, former Attorney General of New Jersey and a team of folks from the UK, Belgium, and the US speaking on efforts to stem hate crimes around the world. They implored the deans to consider ways in which we can prevent hate.

Finally, Auschwitz survivor, Irving Roth, discussed his view on resetting our moral compass.

Following this, we visited the Tornow site where thousands of Jews were shot and buried in mass graves, hundreds of Jewish children from a local orphanage were killed by Nazis using hand grenades in an open pit, and 2 thousand Polish Christians were shot and buried in mass graves. This was, by far, the most overwhelming site we have visited.

This evening we participated in Shabbat dinner and an evening lecture by Professor Katz on the Jewish resistance during the Holocaust.

The take away from today is the importance of helping schools stop hate by creating systems that prevent it before it takes hold in communities.