No matter beliefs, race or political views, the Holocaust is one of those events that affects nearly everyone in some way or another.
While the horrid events tragically took the lives of more than six million Jews, something that will never be taken away is the lasting memory of strength and courage that every one of them left.
Thus nearly 60 years later we celebrate the lives of those six million and others who suffered for their beliefs, race and political views.
The Jewish holiday is known as Yom HaShoah, which translates as the day of catastrophe. From the evenings of Sunday, April 27 to Monday, April 28 there was a day of remembrance around the world for the victims and their families.
The campus of Springfield College was no different, as Spiritual Life organized an array of events on Monday.
First at noon in Marsh Memorial, second-generation Holocaust survivor Robin Tish shared her experiences growing up as a Jew.
“Growing up I was taught to be very fearful and doubtful,” said Tish, who is a native of Cambridge, Mass. “I developed a negative mindset, and I was frightened by everything. I became very, very anxious.”
Tish explains that second-generation survivors tend to have just as much psychological detriment as that of their parents.
Tish’s mother and father were fortunate enough to escape the threat of death, but the worst part of it all, she explained, was the fear at any second that they could die.
“When I grew up they never talked about it,” Tish explained. “The false names and paperwork were history for them. I wanted to know, but they never told me.”
The fact that Tish’s parents hid the names so extensively from her growing up made her realize how negatively it affected them psychologically and physically.
“Their identity as a human being was taken away because they have a Jewish name! They were born into it, but they were forced to pretend not to be Jewish,” she said.
The damage was passed down, as Tish explained.
“I was embarrassed to be Jewish. I wanted to be succesful, and I felt that as a Jewish person I couldn’t be a winner.”
Now, however, she says that she has a strong sense of justice and absolutely hates injustice.
Her husband, Larry Tish, accompanied her to Springfield College. Larry, who also grew up Jewish, talked about their efforts in raising their daughter in a way so she doesn’t feel oppression from her peers.
“Robin works really hard to be a person of confidence and courage,” Larry said about his wife. “I try to live a life that is courageous and fearless. I also try to not fall prey to my own negativity.
Later that night at 7 p.m., people piled into Marsh Memorial to watch The Search for the White Rose. University of Connecticut student Peter Logue presented his documentary to the audience.
Logue noted to the audience that he was not Jewish, nor does he have German roots, but the Holocaust has always been a topic that he is very zealous about.
“My goal is to see people look at it, think about it, and talk about it,” Logue said. “I don’t just want people to know about it, but I want them to understand the awful conditions and how terribly they were treated, too.”
The White Rose was a non-violent resistant group in Nazi Germany. The group consisted of University of Munich students and a philosophy professor. The school was not far from the first concentration camp.
The group led a graffiti campaign starting in June 1942 to February 1943. They directly called for active opposition to dictator Adolf Hitler. They were eventually tried for treason and beheaded. Today, the members of the White Rose are known as some of the biggest heroes in all of Germany.
The incredible events put on by Spiritual Life on Monday were a way to remember and honor the people that suffered and lost their lives due to the Holocaust.
“I think it’s important to remember that people didn’t just do evil things, but some people did nothing,” said Dave McMahon, the director of Spiritual Life at Springfield. “I hope it helps people look at what’s going on in the world now, and leads them to make a difference.”