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The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

Visiting Scholar Dr. Yossi Kugler Gives Speech About Holocaust Remembrance 

The speech was held at 7 p.m. on Feb. 15 in the Trustees Room of Convo 
Sam Vincent
Dr. Yossi Kugler Gives His Speech.

On Thursday, Feb. 15, the Ashland Center for Nonviolence (ACN), AU Honors and Ashland Christian Ministry hosted Dr. Yossi Kugler of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem to give a speech on different aspects of the Holocaust that aren’t often known or thought about. 

“[I hope people understand] the complexity of human nature, and that it is perfectly human to deny really atrocious things and carry on in the face of it.” said the Director of the Center for Nonviolence at Ashland University, Dr. Craig Hovey. 

Dr. Hovey’s remarks are accurate in describing the main points Dr. Yossi Kugler discussed. In Kugler’s speech, he mainly talked about the Jewish experience and awareness of the situation at hand during the Holocaust, and how it shines a different light on the tragedy. 

Part of the tragedy, which is often not discussed in general, but was one of the main points of Kugler’s speech is that the Jewish people were often misinformed or lied to about the realities of the Holocaust. 

Many of the Jewish people, as Kugler said, knew that something bad was going on, such as a mass murder, but many of them didn’t understand that it was at the level of a genocide. Many clung to optimistic thinking, hoping it wasn’t to the extent it was.  

The pattern of misinformation for the Jewish people continued with direct lies. When they were taken to concentration camps, many were lied to and told they would be resettled. Furthermore, they were commonly told they were being taken to showers when they were actually about to be killed in the concentration camps.  

The deception and misinformation played a large role in the tragedy of the Holocaust, as Dr. Kugler explained in his speech. 

He also explained why the Jewish people tended to have a passive attitude towards the situation instead of a more rebellious one by bringing up the point that most Jewish revolts against the Holocaust were led by young adults. The explanation for this, Kugler said, is that the Jewish people worried that their communities would be destroyed if they revolted. Older adults who were more likely to have families didn’t revolt likely out of fear for their loved ones’ safety. 

The Jewish people faced an impossible situation during the Holocaust, Dr. Kugler described towards the end of his speech. They didn’t revolt, as they were justifiably afraid that if they did, their communities would be destroyed, even though they knew there was injustice occurring. However, many didn’t realize to what extent the Holocaust was. 

“If we want to combat antisemitism and other forms of hate, the first step is to learn about it in order to confront it.” Dr. Kugler said to conclude his speech. 

Dr. Kugler’s speech was just one of the events planned for the Season for Nonviolence, which began on Jan. 30 and continues until April 4. The next event will be a keynote speech in the Trustees Room in the John C. Myers Convocation Center at 7 p.m. on Feb. 23. 

For more information about upcoming ACN events on campus, you can visit  Engage Ashland online or visit the Engage Instagram page @engage_ashland.  

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