Upstander Connection

Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance

Archive for the tag “holocaust”

Hear Upstander Michael Sam Speak March 26

Missouri vs Arkansas State - September 28, 2013 (Photo by Ben Walton)Whether you follow people who tear across the football field or tear up the dance floor, no doubt Michael Sam has been on your social media feed lately. Now you have a chance to hear what the multi-talented football player is up to in person.

Sam, the first openly gay man to be drafted into the NFL, will speak on March 26 as part of the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance’s 2015 Upstander Speaker Series. The series brings leading human rights advocates and academics to Dallas to share their knowledge and research on a spectrum of issues, including modern-day genocide, ethics, prejudice and law.

Sam set the Internet spinning when he announced recently that he’ll be a contestant on Season 20 of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. He’s stressed, though, that he’ll continue training so he can show off his moves on the football field if a team comes calling for the 2015 NFL season.

Sam has a lot going on, but he’ll stand still long enough on March 26 to speak to the North Texas community about his past whirlwind year and his decision to come out despite repercussions it may have on his career in the uber-macho world of professional sports.

Sam’s a natural for the Dallas Holocaust Museum’s second Upstander Speaker Series, which raises fundamental questions about humanity, justice and personal responsibility. It challenges audiences to consider these issues and stand up against injustice rather than stand by.

Upstander Speakers Series (2)Sam grew up in Hitchcock, Tex. along the Gulf Coast. He is the seventh of eight children. Three of his siblings have died and two brothers are in prison. He is the first of his family to graduate from college.

Sam, now 25, was selected by the St. Louis Rams in last year’s draft but was released before the start of the season. He was signed to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad but did not make it to the game-day roster.

The nation has followed Sam’s progress in the NFL closely.

“The President congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward today in our Nation’s journey,” President Barack Obama said in a White House statement. “From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove everyday that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are.”

Sam has been accepted to the first NFL veteran combine, a project aimed at giving a second chance to players who are free agents. That combine is set for March 22.

The Upstander Speaker Series with Michael Sam and introduction by WFAA-TV sports anchor Dale Hansen will take place March 26 at 6:30 p.m. at Communities Foundation of Texas, 5500 Caruth Haven Lane in Dallas. For more information and tickets, visit DallasHolocaustMuseum.org.

— Katie Menzer, staff writer for the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance

Paul Kessler: A story of perseverance

Holocaust survivor Paul Kessler and his mother hid in a pit behind a farmhouse for months until the Russians liberated the region in Slavakia. The farmer who hid them put his own life in considerable danger, providing them with food and keeping them safe until the area was liberated.

 

Today, Paul speaks to school children who visit the Museum and tells his personal story of survival, suffering, and hope. He talks about the civility shown by the farmer who was the perfect example of an Upstander. Support the DHM/CET so more children can learn not only the tragedy of the Holocaust and say, “Never again”.

North Texas Giving Day is Sept. 13. Donations of $25 or more will be matched through Donor Bridge. When you donate to the DHM, you are helping us teach students from across the Metroplex about the importance of  tolerance. Please help us reach everyone we can by visiting this link on Thursday! https://northtexasgiving.s3.amazonaws.com/index.html

Children and the Holocaust

As you probably know by now, our current temporary exhibit, Every Child Has a Name, is focused on the children of the Holocaust. Their games, drawings, and toys tell their story in a powerful way that make history come alive–especially to our younger visitors. As children tour the exhibit, they take in the idea that other children, often younger than themselves, lived and died during the Holocaust. While this moment may be difficult for some, it is a moment that we hope will allow the students to make a real connection with the Holocaust and the lessons of tolerance and understanding.

For those students who are interested in learning more about the Holocaust, there are many wonderful books available. Here is a brief selection of these books, selected for their quality and the power of the stories told within their pages.

The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank

We Are Witnesses: Five Diaries of Teenagers who Died in the Holocaust, Jacob Boas

I Will Plant You a Lilac Tree, Laura Hillman

Number the Stars, Lois Lowry

Let us know if you have a favorite that isn’t listed, or if you have read and loved any of our picks.

Holocaust Remembrance Candle Vigil

Join us at the DHM/CET Garden of Remembrance and Tolerance on January 26 for a candlelight vigil in recognition of Holocaust Remembrance Day and those who lost their lives in the Holocaust.

The Garden of Remembrance is located at the corner of Houston & Pacific Streets in the West End, opposite the Sixth Floor Museum. Arrive and park on this site by 7 p.m. In the event of rain, we will gather in the DHM/CET Memorial Room inside the museum at 211 N. Record Street, located one block east of the garden. Candles, seating and light refreshments provided.

Alice Abroad: Experiencing Belzec

December 25, 2011

I feel a little conflicted about posting an update on Christmas Day, but I will trust you to read this when it’s right for you. Yesterday we went to the most amazing memorial I’ve ever seen — at Belzec. Just a few short years ago, the site where over 600,000 Jews were killed over just 9 months time (that’s 2500 per day), people were seen regularly digging into the mass grave with shovels, hoping to find jewelry or other valuables on the corpses — there was no preservation or memorial in place. Then the USHMM and the Polish governnment partnered to create the most beautiful memorial on about 10 acres of the site. It rivals any memorial you’ve ever seen in the world!

This is one view of the Belzec memorial installation. This granite wall here is about 5 stories tall.

 

Engraved scripture: “EARTH DO NOT COVER MY BLOOD, LET THERE BE NO RESTING PLACE FOR MY OUTCRY” Job 16:18

 

 

Alice Abroad: Warsaw’s Last Synagogue

This is the only synagogue in Warsaw now. Before WWII there were over 600,000 Jews there — now there are fewer than 5,000.

Alice Abroad: Treblinka

December 22, 2011

Entry to the Treblinka camp memorial where 800,000 people died in gas chambers. The beauty is very contradictory of the facts.

The Entryway to Treblinka

This is the Treblinka memorial. We are touching the marker that is engraved with Mike Jacobs’ family surname. He lost many family members there.

Treblinka Memorial

Alice Abroad: The Road from Chelmno

December 22, 2011

Today in Poland — long road trip to Chelmno, where 300,000 people died by being driven on “gas vans”. They were loaded naked into these vans, 60 at a time, and driven 4 km down a road while fumes were pumped into the van to kill them. There bodies were dumped in mass graves. They used 16 of these vans running constantly to murder that many people. It defies explanation.

The second part of the day, though, was much more upbeat — meeting with survivors who were all children during the Holocaust. They were awesome! I will tell more about them soon. Thanks again for following this journey!

Alice Abroad: Development?

Day 2 in Poland – Tuesday – was a bus ride to Stutthof near Gdansk in northeast Poland. Some of the of the camp buildings were still standing — many others were marked with simple memorials. There was a gas chamber and crematorium. The day was cold but no snow on the ground. The emotions I felt while walking in the footsteps of so many tortured and brutalized souls are hard to describe, other than deep grief. The most puzzling aspect was the proximity of new housing to the camp where approx. 65,000 people perished. You could throw a stone from the back yard of one of these homes and hit the gas chambers.
We took a long train ride to Warsaw in the afternoon and I sat next to a Polish man who spoke good English and he said he had never visited any of the concentration camps — ever. He sad it was too painful. Really?

Alice Abroad: Arriving in Poland

Checking in from Gdansk, Poland — we arrived mid-day and it’s really cold and dreary. Gdansk is a beautiful and quaint little city with many scars from WWII and the Holocaust. We walked along the Wannsee River and saw many un-restored bombed out buildings. There is a charming memorial to the Kinder Transport in front of the train station. The mood of the group is still light-hearted as we prepare to start our trek to camp sites tomorrow morning at Stutthof and then board a train for a 4-hour trip to Warsaw.


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