St. Stephen’s College of University of Delhi (DU) recently announced a 4 session seminar on the holocaust beginnings. Is it necessary to conduct such sessions amidst a horrifying scenario of the Israel-Palestine conflict?
As per the official notification released by St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi (DU), a new course has been announced for its 1st-year students. The course has been offered by the college along with the Embassy of Israel in India and the Yad Vashem Centre. The program of study is entitled to be based on the Holocaust Beginnings and is scheduled for 4 sessions. The series of sessions have been organised with the goal of delivering “insights into the history of the Holocaust focusing on individual stories, the fate of women during the Holocaust, and the history of memory.”
Here’s the link to the Notice.
The details of the session as stated in the notification are as follows:
Session 1: Yad Vashem – Shaping Memory, Transmitting History, Dr. Noa Mkayton
Date: Monday 31st May 2021, 3:30PM- 5:00PM
Brief: In this lecture, we will explore the faces of Holocaust memory in Israel throughout the decades. How did the change in collective memory impact the way the Holocaust was being taught? How are these developments intertwined with the history of Yad Vashem – Israel’s National Holocaust Memorial?
Session 2: A Virtual Tour of the Holocaust History Museum of Yad Vashem, Dr. David Deutsch
Date: Wednesday 2nd June 2021, 3:00 PM- 5:00 PM
Brief: The virtual tour of the Holocaust History Museum provides an insight into the history of the Holocaust along with a strong focus on the individual stories and experiences of the Jewish victims. The Museum begins with Jewish life before the war and it ends by addressing the issue of Holocaust representation and the preservation of memory.
Session 3: The Live Holocaust Testimony of Rina Quint
Date: Monday 7th June 2021, 3:00 PM- 4:30 PM
Brief: Rina Quint is a Holocaust survivor from Poland. After her parents and brothers were murdered by the German Nazis, Rina Quint was sheltered by other “mothers” in the concentration camps and afterward. Finally, she was adopted by Jacob and Leah Globe in the United States. Please join us as Rina will share her remarkable story.
Session 4: Spots of Light – Woman in the Holocaust: A Ready to Print Online Exhibition, Katarzyna Czerwonogora
Date: Wednesday 9th June 2021, 3:00 PM- 4:30 PM
Brief: “Future historians will need to devote a special chapter to the courage and strength of Jewish women during the Holocaust.” (Emanuel Ringelblum Warsaw Ghetto 1942). Ringelblum was an important Jewish historian and social leader. During this session, we will discuss Jewish women’s experiences during the Holocaust and explore their place in post-war historiography. The session will be based on Yad Vashem’s Ready2Print Exhibition ‘Spots of Light – Woman in the Holocaust”.
I won’t delve into why the conflict sparked off and the role of history in the same; websites have already written tons of articles enlightening us on the same. The issue of concern in this particular piece is the conduct of the sessions by St. Stephen’s amidst the chaos. The conduction of the above seminar is not problematic per se. The real issue is rooted in the fact that the educational institution is hosting it while the whole world shivers with the horrors of the Israel- Palestine issue. The hashtags of #IStandWithIsrael & #IStandWithPalestine flooded all of the social media platforms. While both sides have their own valid reasoning to counter one another, one needs to acknowledge the fact that Palestinians are suffering.
One cannot unsee the recent happenings that are being considered to be the root cause of the horrendous battle. The yellowed pages of history have been witnessed to the (un)wanted actions that have fueled the contemporary Israel-Palestine conflict. The clash that started off with protests has now transformed itself into a full-fledged struggle; for some to gain power and for many to survive. Mahatma Gandhi said and I quote, “An eye for an eye makes the world blind”. Isn’t relatable to the Israel- Palestine clash where Israel bombarded the Gaza Strip in spite of being aware of the fact that not all Palestinians are a part of the ?arakat al-Muq?wamah al-Isl?miyyah (HAMAS) group? A series of questions can be raised for both deeds of Israel and Hamas but the focus of the article will be divided. In such a scenario, is the conduction of the seminar even valid?
Call it the ‘Stephenian Supremacy’ or ‘Stephenian Legacy’; the conduction of the seminar with the Israeli Embassy and Vad Vasham Centre under such a scenario is not appreciated. Numerous questions arise because of the same. If we take a glance at the itinerary for the event, one can witness the attention catered to the Israeli side of the Holocaust. Is it conducted to influence the sentiments of the students towards Israel? If the session is unbiased in nature, why not talk about all the aspects of the Holocaust? My curiosity is getting the best of me as I write this. Also, do the authorities of St. Stephen possesses even an ounce of empathy for the Palestinians as they collaborate with the Israeli Embassy? DU Beat tried talking about the same with individuals from St. Stephen’s College but hesitation gripped them down. I acknowledge and respect the fact that every individual will/might have a personal take on anything, however, all public institutions should portray the attributes of diplomacy in such provoking matters with exceptions of extreme conditions. If the organisation of the seminar is just another instance of bad timing, I am sure of the fact that the authorities possess the rationality to postpone it. However, if it is not, I already have delineated my problems with the same.
The conditions of the Israel- Palestine conflict are horrifying. Children have been killed, numerous have been left without a roof over the heads. International diplomats should bring such issues to the table and deliberate it over discussions rather than resorting to the usage of violence to counter-violence.
Featured Image Credits: DU Beat Archives