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Holocaust memorial remembers victims

Madeline Buckley | Monday, April 21, 2008

Wooden boards lined the paths of South Quad Friday, memorializing the millions who died in the Holocaust during the culmination of “Stand Against Hate Week.”

An evening prayer service at the Grotto was also performed.

The posters on the quad portrayed quotes and statistics describing one of history’s largest hate crimes.

“The three words we kept repeating while setting up [the memorial] were ‘awareness, education and action,'” Core Council for Gay and Lesbian students memorial organizer Mel Bautista said. “We want the memorial to raise awareness and encourage students to stand against hate.”

At the start of the path, the boards were painted with a variation of the famous poem “First They Came,” commonly attributed to Martin Niemöller. The first board displayed the beginning of the poem, “When they came for the Jews and the blacks, I turned away.” The poem continued on several boards detailing other persecuted groups and the indifference of others to their plight, and concluded with the line, “And when they came for me, I turned around, and there was nobody left.”

The purpose of this poem was to show how indifference can lead to hate crimes, Bautista said.

“The poem along South Quad was so that students would realize that a bystander is just as guilty as a perpetrator,” she said. “We wanted students walking to class to stop and think about the violence and hate,”

Other boards lining the paths exhibited several famous Holocaust statements such as Elie Wiesel’s declaration that silence from bystanders aids the oppressors and the Stockholm Declaration’s plea for people to remember the horrors of the Holocaust, lined with appeals like “Never again!”

Another goal of the memorial was to draw attention to other groups that perished in the Holocaust in addition to the Jews, Bautista said. Placed intermittently among the boards were canvas signs, each with a different colored triangle and the name of a group that was targeted by the Nazis.

“The patches represent groups that were discriminated against in the Holocaust,” Bautista said. The blue triangle stood for the foreign forced laborers, the pink triangle represented gay men, and the green triangle stands for the political dissidents who were murdered because they took a stand against Nazi violence, Bautista said.

“The Holocaust did not only affect the Jewish community,” she said.

Nearby boards reminded onlookers that 200,000 to 300,000 political dissidents, 10,000 to 25,000 gay men, 200,000 to 800,000 Roma (Gypsies), and 2,500 to 5,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses were murdered along with the five to six million Jews.

“We hope that the memorial will remind and encourage students to act against violence,” Bautista said. “This whole meet is about taking a stand, Hate crimes are still prevalent in our society.”

boards were painted with a variation of the famous poem “First They Came,” commonly attributed to Martin Niemöller. The first board displayed the beginning of the poem, “When they came for the Jews and the blacks, I turned away.” The poem continued on several boards detailing other persecuted groups and the indifference of others to their plight, and concluded with the line, “And when they came for me, I turned around, and there was nobody left.”

The purpose of this poem was to show how indifference can lead to hate crimes, Bautista said.

“The poem along South Quad was so that students would realize that a bystander is just as guilty as a perpetrator,” she said. “We wanted students walking to class to stop and think about the violence and hate,”

Other boards lining the paths exhibited several famous Holocaust statements such as Elie Wiesel’s declaration that silence from bystanders aids the oppressors and the Stockholm Declaration’s plea for people to remember the horrors of the Holocaust, lined with appeals like “Never again!”

Another goal of the memorial was to draw attention to other groups that perished in the Holocaust in addition to the Jews, Bautista said. Placed intermittently among the boards were canvas signs, each with a different colored triangle and the name of a group that was targeted by the Nazis.

“The patches represent groups that were discriminated against in the Holocaust,” Bautista said. The blue triangle stood for the foreign forced laborers, the pink triangle represented gay men, and the green triangle stands for the political dissidents who were murdered because they took a stand against Nazi violence, Bautista said.

“The Holocaust did not only affect the Jewish community,” she said.

Nearby boards reminded onlookers that 200,000 to 300,000 political dissidents, 10,000 to 25,000 gay men, 200,000 to 800,000 Roma (Gypsies), and 2,500 to 5,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses were murdered along with the five to six million Jews.

“We hope that the memorial will remind and encourage students to act against violence,” Bautista said. “This whole meet is about taking a stand, Hate crimes are still prevalent in our society.”