Today the Colorado State University community joins with other governments, institutions and people worldwide to observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day. We pay tribute to the memory of the victims who lost their lives in the most brutal and heinous ways by honoring their stories and never forgetting the costs associated with the normalization of racism, antisemitism, bigotry and prejudice. We also recall the precious few who acted to protect the persecuted and all who gave their lives in the struggle to defeat Nazism. Finally, we will collectively support efforts to end genocide and the hateful forces that lead to these violent acts.
Designated by the United Nations, January 27th marks the Soviet Red Army’s liberation of WWII’s largest Nazi concentration and death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, in 1945. The theme for this year’s United Nations’ outreach program on the Holocaust is Memory, Dignity, and Justice. The program leaders remind us that “the writing of history and the act of remembering brings dignity and justice to those the perpetrators of the Holocaust intended to obliterate. Safeguarding the historical record, remembering the victims, challenging the distortion of history often expressed in contemporary antisemitism, are critical aspects of claiming justice after atrocity crimes.”
Antisemitism is defined as negative beliefs about or hostile behavior towards Jews just because they are Jewish. The Holocaust was the ultimate manifestation of antisemitism. Unfortunately, today we are witnessing a resurgence of antisemitism worldwide, including in our country. Recently in Colleyville, Texas, four members of the Congregation Beth Israel, including the rabbi, were taken hostage for 11 hours by a gun-wielding man. This tragedy is a clear example of how antisemitism lives on today.
Colorado State University prides itself as an inclusive institution that follows Inclusion, Integrity, Respect, Social Justice, and Accountability as its Principles of Community. In 2020, President Joyce McConnell established the Presidential Task Force on Jewish Inclusion and the Prevention of Antisemitism and last night, she highlighted the virtual commemoration being held today on the Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website.
Remembering the victims of the Holocaust requires us to name antisemitism and call it what it is; it is hatred, often with clear violent manifestations. Colorado State University’s award-winning holocaust education and awareness programming has received national attention. CSU’s Students for Holocaust Awareness Week are hosting the 24th annual remembrance week in the first week of March. The week’s activities will include the Litany of Martyrs, a Film night, a memorial service and walk to remember the victims. The week’s key event is an Evening with a Holocaust Survivor on Wednesday, March 2nd at 7 p.m. in the Lory Student Center main ballroom. For up-to-date information regarding the schedule of events, please visit the Holocaust Awareness Week website.
We encourage you to learn more by visiting these websites and resources:
- The Holocaust and United Nations Outreach Program
- Southern Law Poverty Center on hatred worldwide
- Anti-Defamation League website