Students Honor Victims of Genocide in a Weeklong Series of Events and Project Rehumanize

A woman who endured more pain than most have in a lifetime came to UTSA to share her story on Monday, Nov. 9. That woman, Holocaust survivor Rose Williams, spoke to students as part of Project Rehumanize, a project put on by students from the Honors Seminar: Holocaust and Genocide.

The professor who teaches the course, UTSA History Professor Dr. Kolleen Guy, says, “Part of the objective of the class is to get the students to take what they learn and do something with it.”

Guy continues, “I tell them that you don’t have to change the world, but you can try and change your little piece of it.”

The students in the course came up with a series of events on campus to raise awareness of the events of genocide.

The series, known as Project Rehumanize, aims to give a human face back to the millions affected by Genocide.

Dr. Guy advised the students to start by focusing on the Holocaust, alleging that most people think they know something about the Holocaust, and it is a good avenue to get people thinking about, and exploring the lesser known, episodes of genocide.

The students contacted Williams, in order to have her give a speech at UTSA on her experiences in the Holocaust.

Dr. Guy spoke about Rose’s speech, saying, “The idea behind the speech was to let the victims’ voices speak for themselves, and have people bear witness to that suffering.”

After Williams’ speech on Monday, Nov. 9, the students arranged for Dr. Margaret Paxson, a researcher at the Berkley Center at Georgetown University, to give a lecture titled, “Conspiracy of Goodness: Legacies of Rescue and Resistance from the Holocaust.” This lecture, given last week in the University Center, showed how one can cease being a perpetrator, a bystander and a victim, instead becoming part of the solution. Paxson gave one example of this with the small French village known as La Chambon-sur-Lignon that served as a refuge and safe haven for many Jews, especially children suffering persecution at the hands of the Nazis during World War II.

The Holocaust Remembrance week events concluded Monday, Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. with the students showing the two-time Sundance award winning film, “Watchers of The Sky”, directed by Edet Belzberg, in the Mckinney Humanities building on Main Campus.

The film follows the journey of Raphael Lemkin in his journey to raise awareness for Genocide. The film is inspired by Samantha Powers’ Pulitzer-Prize winning book, “A Problem from Hell.”