An associate professor of history at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh says the Holocaust should never be forgotten–especially in a time of increasing racist violence and antisemitism.
Karl Loewenstein arranged for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi German Concentration and Extermination Camp Exhibit that is displayed on campus through Sept. 27 at Steinhilber Gallery on the third floor of Reeve Union. The traveling exhibit, on loan from Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland, consists of 31 poster panels documenting the development of Nazism, the beginnings of the Holocaust and the camp itself. Besides the exhibit, a movie and survivor visit to campus are among Holocaust-focused activities planned for the month of September.
“I am very proud that UW Oshkosh is able to present the exhibit from the Auschwitz-Berkenau Museum and Memorial,” Loewenstein said. “It is a powerful reminder of the horrors of Nazism and the Holocaust.”
Loewenstein noted that they have the exhibit on loan in a world where rising nationalist sentiment is reminiscent of the first part of the 20th century.
“These 31 panels can help us understand the horrors of Nazism and the extreme expression of hatred and prejudice,” he said. He believes learning about Auschwitz and its horrors will help people be aware and inspired to make sure something like that never happens again.
A rare account from a person who experienced the horror first-hand takes place Sept. 18, when Holocaust survivor Eva Zaret will speak at 2 p.m. in the University’s Reeve Ballroom.
Zaret was a young woman in Budapest when the Nazi regime laid siege on her home town. She survived the war and years of displacement in the harsh Carpathian Mountains. On a trip into the city, her family was caught in the outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution. She and her husband escaped on foot and eventually came to the U.S.
“She escaped deportation from Hungary near the end of the war and will be on campus to tell us of her life,” Loewenstein said, of the free special event that is open to the community.
Making it possible
The exhibit and Holocaust-related activities are sponsored by the Chancellor’s Office of UW Oshkosh, Gail F. Steinhilber Art Gallery, UWO History Club, Polish Heritage Society of Northeastern Wisconsin, Polish Heritage Society of Northeastern Wisconsin, Polish Cultural Foundation of Boston, PACT-Educational Project, Polish American Congress of Long Island, Reeve Union and the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center of Milwaukee.
Emmet Sandberg from the art department and Michelle Mouton from history set up the exhibit in the Gallery.
Special events in September
Sept. 11 panel discussion: Steinhilber Gallery Opening at 5 p.m. with light refreshments. A panel discussion will follow at 6 p.m. in Reeve 306 on Nazism, Racism and the Holocaust. UW Oshkosh history professors, Karl Loewenstein and Michelle Mouton, will be panelists.
Sept. 18 survivor talk, teaching discussion and movie: Eva Zaret, a Holocaust survivor who resides in Wisconsin, will speak at 2 p.m. Sept. 18 at Reeve Union Ballroom.
A discussion takes place at 5 p.m. in Reeve Union Theater on how to teach the Holocaust. Dan Haumschild, director of education for Holocaust Education Resource Center of Milwaukee will discuss teaching the Holocaust in American schools. Monika Hohbein-Deegan, professor of German at UW Oshkosh, discusses Incorporating the Holocaust into German courses and courses about Germany at UWO and study abroad.
At 6 p.m. in Sage Hall 1210, the UW Oshkosh History Movie Club will show The Pianist. The movie is based on the story of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a well-known Polish Jewish pianist. Szpilman was forced into the Warsaw Ghetto and later separated from his family during Operation Reinhard. From this time until the end of the war, Szpilman went into hiding and witnessed the horrors of Nazi occupation, violence and murder.
Sept. 25 panel discussion: Panel discussion at 4 p.m. in Reeve Union Theater on Genocide and Hatred in the Modern World. Panelists will be Mike Jasinski, professor of political science at UWO; Cary Henson, professor of English at UWO; and Heike Alberts, professor of geography at UWO.
Steinhilber Gallery hours: Mondays, 2-7:30 p.m.; Tuesdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 1:30 -4:30 p.m., 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Wednesdays, 2-7:30 p.m.; Thursdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 1:30-6 p.m.; Fridays, 2-4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, closed. The gallery and all related events are free and open to the public.