This is an eyewitness report from the NowPublic member Mikasi who was on the scene.
Sixty years later, who gives a damn about the Holocaust?...
[March 12, 2008 Kenosha, WI ]
...apparently a lot more people than you'd think
For an overcrowded speaking room at Carthage College the day's biggest story was told by Magda Brown. Hers was the autobiography of a 17 year old Jewish girl in Miskolc, Hungary who – along with her family - was rounded up in 1944 and sent to the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. For over an hour Brown laid down the chronology of horrors which befell her, her family and six million Jews during the Nazi ascendance.
But to me, the more unusual story was not the tale from the Holocaust which Brown related, but rather the number of students and community members who came to hear it. For a country which criticizes itself for producing a dismally vapid and ignorant younger generation the number of young people at Brown's lecture was both surprising and heartening.
A modular speaking room, originally set up for 200, had to be thrown open. Hurriedly, members of Phi Alpha Theta, the academic history fraternity which sponsored the speech, set up more seats.
And with over 300 people it was still standing room only.
Why was it that so many traditionally aged students, – 18 through 22 – showed up to listen to a stranger's story of a history which happened before even their parents were born? The few students I spoke with listed different reasons – a duty to hear the stories of survivors, a desire to listen different perspectives, a chance to meet someone who had lived through something they had only read about.
After the presentation and a question and answer session, Mrs. Brown took a moment to reflect on the numbers. “I was overwhelmed... especially when I heard that Spring break is coming very shortly... I figured if I have ten people I'll have ten people. Because my contention is I speak to one or I speak to a hundred.”
For a cynic like me it was heartening to see so many people taking their free time to listen – many with pens in hand, pads on laps, taking copious notes - to a story so important.
As for Magda. Brown, there was a message she hoped everyone walked away remembering - “The one thing is to understand that hatred creates this tragedy. That's the beginning of all the genocide problems – hatred.”
“Our main aim is to say that never again really means never again.”
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miles from the frontline..., Wisconsin, United States