Queen’s Hillel held our annual Holocaust Education Week from November 9th-13th, 2020. The week included incredibly engaging and meaningful events, such as a panel of young Jewish leaders in Europe sharing what the continent is like 75 years after the Holocaust, hearing a survivor’s testimony, a virtual tour of the Płaszów concentration camp, and a discussion about the movie Jojo Rabbit (2019) with a Queen’s professor. It was a busy week loaded with educational opportunities.
Holocaust education itself is important to me, and it is important to participate in Holocaust Education Week (HEW) because a genocide can happen to any group of people. Educating oneself on such atrocities reminds us of what the human race is capable of, and to prevent it from ever happening again. I am deeply affected by the Holocaust because my grandfather was a Holocaust survivor and although I never had the opportunity to meet him, I believe I can celebrate his life through educating people about the Holocaust and being proud of my Jewish heritage.
On the Friday of HEW, Hillel sent out kits that contained information about the Holocaust, to share and to encourage discourse between housemates over shabbat dinner. Normally, we would have a shabbat dinner on campus for HEW, but things are a little different this year and I thought that this was a wonderful adaptation to encourage social distancing. A package that contained challah, grape juice for kiddush, a yahrzeit candle (traditionally lit on an anniversary of a death), prayers, information cards, and a recipe was delivered to my house. What I especially loved was that the yahrzeit candle had the name of Feiga Strazh on it. Feiga was just one of the millions who died, and I had the honour of remembering her that evening. I also loved how a recipe by a Holocaust survivor was provided for me to cook that evening, which also worked as a conversation starter. Overall, this kit was a meaningful way to close HEW, and a great way to introduce discourse of the Holocaust with my housemates.
Queen’s Hillel Holocaust Awareness Coordinator