Human Rights in Baltics

During Spring Break 2010, students, faculty and staff are visiting World War II sites in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, including the Bikernieki Memorial, where 40,000 Jews were slain; the Jewish Museum in Riga; and the Jungfernhof concentration camp. Rick Halperin, director of the Human Rights Education Program in Dedman College, is leading the group.

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Why the Baltics?

An update from Adele, a senior sociology major with minors in history and human rights:

Tomorrow’s the day I’ve been anticipating for the past few months: Tomorrow we depart from D/FW airport on our way to the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

I’ve been preparing by reading a number of articles dealing with the issues of the Holocaust in these countries. I’ve learned quite a bit on the subject, especially considering I had never in my life thought much about the three small countries before hearing about the trip. It’s amazing how little most Americans, including myself, know about these nations. After all, why would any of us devote time to thinking about them? What are they known for? The fact is, they’re not really known for anything throughout most of the Western world.

In reality, however, these countries are rich in history, a history that should be studied and understood worldwide. Particularly in the matter of the Holocaust, the Baltics should not be overlooked in their historical significance. While I’ve tried to arm myself with information, I know this trip will both shock and inspire me in ways I cannot prepare for. It will certainly put my problems and daily worries into perspective.

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