PLATTSBURGH — Students and religious leaders expressed their feelings about the Holocaust through poetry, prose and thoughtful questions.
Dr. Douglas Skopp coordinated the first Days of Remembrance Holocaust commemoration more than two decades ago, said SUNY Plattsburgh professor Dr. Jonathan Slater.
”It’s important to recall that ideas, for better or worse, can come from anyone, anywhere and can take root with anyone, anywhere,” Slater told the 50 or so people gathered in the Douglas and Evelyn Skopp Holocaust Memorial Gallery in Feinberg Library for the annual event.
ASHES AND TEARS
In the gallery, which includes a display of battered spoons found at Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland by former Associate Professor of English Steven Steinlight, two SUNY Plattsburgh students read from the submissions that won them first place in the Douglas R. Skopp Creative Competition on the theme of the Holocaust.
Deborah Katz recited her poem, “A Granddaughter’s Onus,” which she dedicated to her grandparents, who were affected by the Holocaust.
“What stories are told / to the next generation / which lessons are taught ...
“How is it rebuilt / What can stand on a foundation of ashes and tears,” Katz recited.
“We need to learn the past ... not forgetting, but learning a new way forward.”
Umberto Angilletta read an excerpt from his research paper, “The Sins of the Father.”
“I have chosen not to write on how we remember the Holocaust today but instead how the Holocaust was treated in the years following its close,” Angilletta said.
“People did not simply abandon their beliefs once the Nazis fell, and there was no immediate moment of clarity that brought about a recognition of the wrongs done.
“So how do people deal with or come to terms with atrocity? How does a civil society come back from genocide?”
Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime annihilated some 6 million Jews during World War II in Europe.