ARTICLE ON HOLOCAUST SPEAKERS BUREAU 1
Recounting memories of cruelty is neither agreeable nor easy.However, such recounting is useful in preventing such cruelty in thefuture. The Holocaust was among the darkest times in modern history,as it was characterized by the worst in humanity. The belief thatGermans were superior to other races resulted in mass persecution ofthe Jews. Despite the cruelty experienced by Jews, Holocaustsurvivors have in the past years been telling stories of thebrutality they experienced during this dark period. The HolocaustSpeakers Bureau provides a platform where survivors and children ofsurvivors share memories of the cruelty of diverse people. The centeraims at preserving Holocaust memories therefore, inspire studentsand community members against cruelty to fellow human beings. The useof genocide testimonies allows students to reflect on the core causesof human rights abuse and prejudice therefore, raise consciousnessamong the youth regarding their responsibilities to fellow humanbeings. However, elderly survivors have been dying, which hasresulted in younger speakers, with most being children of thesurvivors.
Different issues have motivated the new speakers to come out andshare memories of the Holocaust. An interview with several speakersat the Bureau revealed the main motivation to be a need to preventsuch evils in the future. The interview revealed most of the speakersto be children of either the survivors or individuals who tried toprotect the Jews. An interview with a speaker whose father had helpedthe Jews avoid persecution revealed the individual`s main reason forsharing his father’s stories is to ensure that children born in the21st century understand the value of kindness to humans.
The new speakers did not experience the Holocaust, but memories ofthis dark period had a major impact on both their childhood and adultlife. One of the speakers explained her childhood to have beencharacterized by a hatred for Hitler, the individual responsible forkilling her grandparents. The speaker explained that throughout herchildhood her mother told her stories of the evil Hitler. Anotherspeaker explained the Holocaust to have resulted in her beingseparated from her mother during the first eight years of her life.This separation resulted in the speaker experiencing hardship in herlife, a memory that still makes her emotional even during her adultlife. Another speaker explained the Holocaust memory to have resultedin his family being quite close to one another. This relationshipwith the family resulted in problems especially during moving as thefamily moved and lived together. The various speakers also explainedthe Holocaust history to have had an impact on their adult life. Onespeaker explained her adult life as one characterized by hiding heridentity because her mother had lived in a life of anxiety due to thehorrors experienced during the Holocaust. Another participantexplained memories of the Holocaust to have resulted in him shuttingdown emotionally.
The speakers hope to accomplish different things by speaking tostudents. One of te speakers explained that he hoped to teachstudents that they cannot just sit back and watch as human rights areviolated. Another speaker explained her main aim behind sharingHolocaust stories to be the need to preserve her mother’s andgrandmother’s memories. The speaker also explained that she hopedto instill courage in young people to always speak out in the case ofinjustices.
Although the Holocaust occurred more than half a century ago, themass genocide will not be forgotten anytime soon. Institutes such asthe Holocaust Speakers Bureau are useful in preserving such memories.Such memories are crucial as they teach young individuals the valueof standing up against human rights violations, mass violence, andprejudices.