Human Rights, Poland 2011

During winter break 2011, SMU students and professors and Dallas community members are traveling to Poland with SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program. The group will visit Holocaust sites to pay tribute and bear witness to those who perished and survived.

Included in the group are six professors traveling on behalf of the Boone Family Foundation’s Texas Project for Human Rights Education grant. They are: SMU’s Perkins School of Theology Professor Sze-kar Wan, Dedman College Psychology Professor George W. Holden and Cox School of Business Assistant Professor Robert W. Rasberry, along with TCU Associate Professor of Social Work Harriet L. Cohen, South Texas College of Law Associate Professor Katerina Lewinbuk and University of North Texas Assistant Professor of Political Science Jacqueline H.R. DeMeritt. Also with the group is Alice Murray, president and CEO of the Dallas Holocaust Museum, so stay tuned in.

Chelmno

An update from Jacqueline H.R. DeMeritt, assistant professor of political science at the University of North Texas: 22 December, 1 pm On the bus, leaving Chelmno. My first visit to the Germans' first extermination camp is complete. This is an awful place, but let me start at the start. A 3-hour drive takes us to a clearing. In it are three or four dirty huts, bars on the windows and an old compact car, its once-red paint too exhausted to shine. In one dirty hut is a single dirty room, and in that dirty room a series of old dirty things: teeth, broken glass, mugs and jars, jewelry and toys. This was the first camp for the Jews of Lodz, [...]

2011-12-27T00:21:20+00:00 December 22nd, 2011|Human Rights, Poland 2011|

Why did people participate?

An update from Sze-kar Wan, professor of New Testament at Perkins School of Theology: An enduring question about the Holocaust is why so many people became willing executioners for Hitler. Not just Nazis, but also professional soldiers and career officers who otherwise shared no ideological affinities with the Nazis, civilian police, even ordinary civilians all had a hand in the Holocaust. On 10 July 1941, in the small village of Jedwabne, under the full eyes of their German conquerors, ordinary Poles turned on their Jewish neighbors and killed 340 of them. They drove a group of men, women and children into a barn that they then set ablaze, burning alive those inside and bludgeoning and shooting those attempting to escape. [...]

2011-12-21T22:54:27+00:00 December 21st, 2011|Human Rights, Poland 2011|

Stutthof

An update from Gracyn, a senior theatre major and human rights minor: Yesterday was the first of our sad outings.  We went to the Stutthof death camp.  Most people know little to nothing about Stutthof. Germany attacked Poland on September 1, 1939, and opened Stutthof concentration camp on September 2. We loaded into the bus at 8 am. It was an interesting air of anticipation on the bus. Everyone has been waiting for this for the past few months, and now it was happening. It felt wrong to say we were excited, but we all knew that where we were going would change us, and that is exciting. Our tour guide Kate told us a lot about Gdansk as we traveled [...]

2011-12-24T16:02:38+00:00 December 21st, 2011|Human Rights, Poland 2011|

A long day in Berlin

An update from Jacqueline H.R. DeMeritt, assistant professor of political science at the University of North Texas: December 18, 6:45 a.m. Went "sightseeing" last night in Berlin; the Berlin Holocaust Memorial is eerie and breathtaking, row upon row of smooth concrete columnscoffins, neatly aligned, orderly. The cobblestone pathways rise and fall, simulating hills, valleys, countrysides, and each columncoffin represents a Jewish community wiped out by the terror. Though it was evening, I took pictures. Saw, too, the Brandenburg Gate - party symbol of Nazi power. Took pictures there, too, including some of myself in front of the site. Screw you, buddy ... I'm a Jew, and I'm still here. Also saw the memorial to the T4 aktion, Germany's early eugenics/euthanasia [...]

2011-12-19T22:13:34+00:00 December 19th, 2011|Human Rights, Poland 2011|

Preparing to seek clarity

During winter break 2011, SMU students, professors and staff members, as well as Dallas community members, are traveling to Poland with SMU's Embrey Human Rights Program. The group will visit Holocaust sites to pay tribute and bear witness to those who perished and survived.

2011-12-23T17:18:32+00:00 December 16th, 2011|Human Rights, Poland 2011|

To begin

An update from Gracyn, a senior theatre major and human rights minor: Yesterday was the 65th anniversary of the recognition of genocide as a human rights crime punishable by international law. It seems hard to believe this could only be 65 years ago.  This is younger than my grandparents. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is just as young and still quite abused.  Obviously many steps forward have been taken in regard to nations looking out for human rights abuses, with many NGOs and Amnesty International working constantly to protect our rights, but there is still much that we do not see - and a lot we simply choose not to look at because it is scary or inconvenient. Next [...]

2011-12-24T16:04:47+00:00 December 12th, 2011|Human Rights, Poland 2011|
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