Holocaust Memorial Director addresses Chico State

Published 2004-10-06T00:00:00Z”/>


Brennan Purtzer<br>Staff Writer

?Why do we teach about the Holocaust?? a director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum?s Committee on Conscience asked the group of 150 at the Harlen Adams Theatre on Thursday night. ?To save the future.”

“This is the meaning, the lesson, and the consolation for the 6 million lives that were lost during World War II – if there is to be any.”

Jerry Fowler flew to Chico from Washington, D.C., at the request of Hillel, Chico State?s Jewish Student Union, and other groups.

Fowler had many stories to tell about the Holocaust itself but there was a modern focus to his speech.

This is a particularly important time for the message about being responsive to Holocaust-like atrocities in the world to be heard, Fowler said.

The Committee on Conscience had declared a genocide emergency because of the mass murdering and terrorizing of citizens in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Fowler, who just returned from a visit to the neighboring country of Chad, had a gripping slide show of suffering and separation to show as evidence of his trip.

More than 200,000 refugees had crossed the border from Darfur into Chad after the decimation of over 400 villages, Fowler said.

At the conclusion of the presentation, a member of the audience asked Fowler why he hadn?t mentioned the religious element of the conflict and the tragic irony of the current situation.

He said that Fowler had made no mention of the fact that both the refugees and the government-supported groups in Darfur are Muslim, and that the Muslim world is doing next to nothing to end this genocide.

Most of the support for the refugees is coming from Jewish and Protestant Christian groups, the audience member said.

In response, Fowler talked about the creation of the Save Darfur Coalition, which includes several U.S. Muslim groups.

He also offered ways that citizens could help.

Fowler said that people who wish to help in solving genocide and human rights crises such as these could do so by ?staying informed, contacting the media, contacting their government representation, supporting relief efforts and getting engaged in their communities.?