Remembering The Unforgettable

After re-evaluating historical findings, the holocaust museum in Washington D.C. has discovered that the number of concentration camps back in World War II were not just a few thousands as originally thought.

“Now they’re up to 42,500 – and they’re not finished,” said Ph. D., Lynne Fallwell, Assistant professor for Texas Tech’s department of history.

Photo submitted by professor Hansen. This is a gas chamber he saw on his trip to Germany and Poland.

Photo submitted by professor Hansen. This is a gas chamber he saw on his trip to Germany and Poland.

During holocaust remembrance week, April 7-14, Fallwell said the Lubbock community has taken an interest into learning more about the historical event and how people in the community can prevent something as monumental as the holocaust from happening again.

But, Fallwell said, even though people are willing to discuss this topic and attempt to find a solution; similar acts of cruelty are going on in the world right now.

She said from the current fighting all throughout Syria to events in Rwanda, there’s a time when certain questions have to be asked.

“Do we have to wait until it’s such a big crisis, or are there smaller things?” Fallwell asked. “Should we be focusing on the cracks? By understanding that if you don’t treat the cracks, it could get worse.”

Hans Hansen, associate professor for the Rawls College of Business teaches a class on the corporation in human rights, and he agrees there is similar violence going on around the globe that replicates what happened during the holocaust.

He said the holocaust is something people study so they can keep history from repeating itself but, he said, the tragedy is continuously happening. Hansen said the holocaust is more than the symbol of a gas chamber or an oven, it is a significant lesson that should make people think twice about their daily decisions.

This photo was taken by professor Hansen. This is a photograph of Jewish tags from concentration camps.

This photo was taken by professor Hansen. This is a photograph of Jewish tags from concentration camps.

In fact,  the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum released on their website that the theme for this year to be “never again: heeding the warning signs.” The theme is about being proactive about the warning signs of genocide and how people can prevent them from happening again.

“It still occurs,” Hans said. “And it occurs in the same methods by dehumanizing a class of people. None of the answers are easy. It’s not something for the faint of heart.”

 Fallwell said this is a situation that will always be an issue and there is no easy solution. She said she likes holocaust remembrance week because it makes people talk about it. That way, she said, people can try to make some sense out of those issues.

 Hansen said he got a better understanding of the holocaust and a deeper meaning of what the historical event was after he visited Germany and Poland for three weeks through an Embrey Human Right Program. He said seeing the concentration camps and the memorial sites were very moving.

This is a photo submitted by professor Hansen. This is a photo from a memorial site from one of the concentration camps.

This is a photo submitted by professor Hansen. This is a photo from a memorial site from one of the concentration camps.

Fallwell said she lived in Germany before she taught at Tech and visited many of the concentration camps and memorial sights. She said it’s one thing for a person to view a historical site and realize how big something is, but, there is a unique feeling that comes over a person when you go somewhere where there has been mass atrocity – like a concentration camp. She said every concentration camp she has visited has a different feel to it.

“Dachau was built on a swamp, so it’s foggy,” she said. “You get a sense  you’re not alone even if you’re not standing there all by yourself. That’s not just my feeling, people I’ve talked to as well have said there’s a sense of mass atrocity, mass suffering.”

In honor of holocaust remembrance week, both Fallwell and Hansen said the suffering might never stop if more people are not aware of the current brutalities that are happening in the world at this very moment. According to Fallwell, the resolution could be as simple as spreading the word and partaking in conversation to raise awareness.

“There’s an interest in why and how,” she said. “I’ve found that people, whether they be Tech students, my colleagues, or the overall community really wanting to talk about a lot this stuff, even the uncomfortable topics. So I don’t know, maybe that is the solution.”

 

 

About Lauren Estlinbaum

Entertainment Director    —    Journalism major, Class of 2014
Lauren Estlinbaum grew up in Pearland, Texas, south of Houston (go Texans). She is a journalism major with a minor in apparel design. Lauren would like to work for either a fashion or lifestyle publication post-graduation. As she likes to say, she considers fashion magazines survival guides.

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