Reflections from SMU Dedman Law student Alexa Naumovich: Majdanek 12-23-2017 The town is so close to the camp. How can people say they were unaware of what was going on here? The stench of the bodies from the crematoria must have permeated the air. The bullets fired into the trenches must have been heard for miles. The people cannot say they did not know. They knew. But not all bowed their heads in submission. Some attempted to do what they could to draw the world’s eyes to this place of death. A picture in the museum struck me. Taken by a Polish resistance fighter from the town, it showed smoke billowing from the crematoria as viewed from the nearby town. [...]
From Ruhi D. a first-year pre-business major: How ethical are we actually? This past semester I took a business ethics class where the last topic we discussed had to do with overconfidence of human morality. We like to think of ourselves as beings, that when placed in a difficult situation, would always take the high road. However this is not necessarily the case. In this unit we discussed two types of morality gauges. The first theory explored how we are as ethical as our inner moral compass. Even if you don’t take action on something, as long as you believe it is wrong or feel the wrongness of the situation you are considered an ethical person. The other theory [...]
From Carolyn I.: Every life matters.....every life counts. Remember it could have been you or your family Stand up for peace not war Stand up for equality not separation Stand up for love for every hurt against one is against all.
Nearly 50 SMU Cox School of Business graduate students kicked off 2018 by traveling to Disney World to participate in the Disney Institute, where they learned about corporate culture from a company that’s one of the best in the business.
An update from Angela W., a senior studying biochemistry and human rights: After two weeks in several large cities, ancient towns, and deserted forests, I have been analyzing my reactions to the various Holocaust sites I have been able to see with the Embrey Human Rights pilgrimage to Poland. I am incredibly grateful that I came: the trip was pretty different from what I was expecting. After talking to several of my friends who had been on this trip previously, they made me think that Holocaust Poland would make me change career plans and take a swan dive into nonprofit work. I expected to be sobbing at the end of every visit after seeing the devastation that occurred in those [...]
From Sam W., a senior majoring in biology: There was frost on the willows at Stutthof. Treblinka was blanketed in white. Auschwitz-Birkenau hung heavy with mist and fog. It has just begun to snow at Majdanek. These places aren’t supposed to be pretty. They are supposed to be openings to some void, pits in both the earth and the human narrative. But, somehow, they are beautiful? Lying beneath, or perhaps above, the wretched history of these sites are places, monuments, and nature so impeccably designed and borne that I dare call them idyllic. It seems so wrong, but these spaces are serene in an unsettling, paranormal way. The wind blew through Chelmno and her forests, the bells of nearby churches [...]
From Sam W., a senior majoring in biology: When I was thinking about coming to Poland with the Embrey Human Rights Program, I talked a lot to people who had gone before. For one friend, the trip changed her life, encouraging her to change her major and enter an entirely different field. For others, it shook and broke them, leaving them in week- or month-long periods of depression. The Poland trip was, and is, that heavy. I looked forward to this. I wanted to experience this seemingly mystical transformation. Now, the actor in me should have known that expectation is the enemy of experience – and at least so far, I can’t say that I felt the earth shatter. That [...]
From Lauren J., a junior studying biology and ethics: At the memorial presentation I made at the Gross-Rosen concentration camp site, I read the poem First They Came, by Martin Niemoller, a German Lutheran pastor who once supported Hitler but then began to oppose the Nazis. Niemoller was then arrested and sent to live in concentration camps. He lived in a concentration camp until it was liberated in 1945. Different versions of his poem exist, but his message is clear. The silence of the German people, particularly the heads of the Protestant churches, during the mass imprisonment and execution of the Jewish people, was wrongful. First They Came First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I [...]
From Lauren J., a junior studying biology and ethics: On December 23, we visited the museum of the concentration camp Majdanek. When we toured the gas chambers, we could see the façade that the Nazis attempted to maintain. The Jews were told that they were going to take a shower, but in reality, they were being ushered towards their death. One room had shower heads and bath tubs, but the next room had openings in the ceiling where Zyklon B was dropped and vaporized into a gas that killed those who were trapped within the room. This sign - Bad und Desinfeklion - indicated that the building was for baths and disinfection. It wasn't. Seeing the blue stains [...]
An update from Angela W., a senior studying biochemistry and human rights: On December 28, the second to last day of the 2017 Embrey Human Rights Holocaust Poland trip, we visited Gross-Rosen, a concentration camp located near the southwestern part of the country where Jewish prisoners were worked to death in a granite quarry. It’s unnerving to visit these places because they definitely remind you how consumerism has a human cost. Seeing the massive pit where Jewish men were forced to lug massive rocks despite massive malnutrition, and zero workers comp, really reminded me of the coltan mines in current day Democratic Republic of the Congo, or even the shrimp fisheries in Thailand. In Gross-Rosen, the granite was used to [...]