FORT MYERS, Florida – The Dr. Talbot Spivak Holocaust Memorial Week began its 17th annual running today at the Edison State College campus in Fort Myers, Florida. Founded in 1996 by the late professor Dr. Talbot Spivak of the Humanities Department, college staff members have kept the week of events alive since his passing in 2006. Rona Axelrod, Professor of Mathematics in the Arts and Sciences Department, Cindy Campbell, Reference Librarian at Richard H. Rush Library, and JoAnn Lewin, Professor of Mathematics have assumed organization of the annual event. This year’s theme: Next Generation: Never Forget was chosen by staff for maintaining the tradition of offering testimonies by Holocaust survivors but also to raise awareness about current genocides.
Project HOPE students opened the week’s events by laying a field of flags on campus grounds. Each flag represented 10,000 individuals who perished in the Holocaust. Dr. Mark Herman, Professor of History presented: Background and Overview and was followed by a Reading of the Names Event by library faculty. Steven Kolberg Bianco, Learning Resources Assistant at Richard H. Rush Library told The Nation Report that the event was “for those who are survivors, children, and relatives and what they’ve had to face with their parents or loved ones having gone through this and carrying on the legacy that their family’s still alive and of course also looking at modern genocides that are happening throughout the world to keep them in our minds that this is still going on. The [Reading of the Names] event is part of the opening ceremonies we do for Holocaust Week. It’s the reading of the names of the French children deported to Germany to the death camps to keep in our minds and keep alive those people even though they’ve passed and the atrocities of the Holocaust”.
Library faculty presented Everything is Illuminated a 2005 screen adaptation of the book by Jonathan Safran Foer about a young man who traveled to Ukraine from the U.S. in search of the woman who saved his grandfather’s life during the Holocaust. The rest of the week will include survivor testimonies along with a musical program, art showing and additional faculty lectures.
Refufia Gaintan, The Nation Report