‘Week of Remembrance’ focuses on rescuers

PULLMAN – The 2008 Week of Remembrance at WSU March 2-5 will examine the motivations and character of those who risk life and limb to save others in peril, focusing on those who experienced the Holocaust of World War II.

The four-day program, “Rescue and Rescuers in the Holocaust,” will feature films, discussions, presentations by a scholar and a survivor, and a musical performance by WSU faculty member Sheila Converse.

Co-directors of this year’s event are Rachel Halverson, associate professor of German, and Ray Sun, professor and co-chair, Dept. of History. Both teach in the WSU Honors College.

Visiting campus will be Whitman College Professor Patrick Henry and Peter Metzelaar, who began his experience with the Holocaust as a child in Holland. Both are Washington residents.

(Peter Metzelaar in 1941
in Amsterdam.)
Henry, who is the Cushing Eels Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Literature at Whitman, will present, “Why Study the Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust,” on March 3. He is a member of the speaker’s bureau for the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, a New York City organization that provides financial support to 1,400 non-Jews who aided in the rescue of Jews during the Holocaust.

An author and French language scholar, Henry has presented lectures on French rescuers at numerous universities, schools, religious centers, and community organizations.  His book, “We Only Know Men: The Rescue of Jews in France During the Holocaust,” was published this past November.

(Speaker Peter Metzelaar with a photo of his mother and the yellow star of David arm patch the Nazis made her wear because she was Jewish. Photos provided by the OUE)
Metzelaar will present, “A Dutch Child Survivor of the Holocaust,” on March 4. A speaker with the Washington State Holocaust Education Resource Center, Metzelaar was five years old when Nazi soldiers marched into Holland and his mother contacted the underground for help. The two spent several years in hiding, first sheltered by a farming couple in a hiding place beneath their house, then in a nearby cave, and later in the cities of Hague and Amsterdam. In 1949, they immigrated to the United States. Metzelaar returned to Holland nearly 45 years later and visited some of the places where he and his mother had hidden during the war. Upon his return, his mother did not want to hear about his findings. When she died the following year, he decided to tell their story.

The schedule of events for the 2008 WSU Week of Remembrance includes:

Sunday, March 2, 7:00 p.m., Smith CUE 203 – “Au Revoir Les Enfants,” a 1987 film directed by Louis Malle, 104 minutes long, with a presentation by Steve Kale, history professor.

Monday, March 3, 7:00 p.m., Smith CUE 203 – “Why Study the Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust,” presented by Patrick Henry, Whitman College.

Tuesday, March 4, 7:00 p.m., Kimbrough 101 – “A Dutch Child Survivor of the Holocaust,” presented by Peter Metzelaar.

Wednesday, March 5, 7:00 p.m., Bryan Hall Auditorium – “Anne Frank Remembered,” a 1995 film directed by Jon Blair, 117 minutes long, with a presentation by Rachel Halverson.

Wednesday, March 5, 9:00 p.m., Bryan Hall Auditorium – “Voice from the Annex,” by José Bowen, performed by Sheila Converse, senior instructor in the School of Music, accompanied by Meg Kelley, Pullman piano teacher.  They will perform a song cycle based on texts written by Anne Frank, renowned author of “The Diary of a Young Girl,” about her experiences hiding from Nazi soldiers in Amsterdam during the 1940s.

WSU’s first Week of Remembrance was first held in fall 2003, but the seeds of the program were sown more than a decade earlier in the WSU Honors College (then a program). Over the years, three professors have organized the annual events – Halverson, Sun, and R. Wes Leid, recently retired senior Honors faculty fellow.  The purpose each year is to focus on topics related to the Holocaust. Previous programs have included addresses, music and film presentations, and discussions among guests, speakers, students, faculty, staff, and community members.

All events of the Week of Remembrance are free and open to the public. Among the sponsors of the program this year are the Honors College, the Dept. of History, and the Dept. of Foreign Languages and Cultures at WSU.
Week of Remembrance
All events of the Week of Remembrance are open to the public at no cost. 
• Au Revoir Les Enfants, 1987 film, 7 p.m. Sunday, March 2, Smith CUE 203.
• Why Study the Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust, Patrick Henry, 7 p.m. Monday, March 3, Smith CUE 203.
• A Dutch Child Survivor of the Holocaust, Peter Metzelaar, 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, Kimbrough 101.
• Anne Frank Remembered, 1995 film, 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, Bryan auditorium.
• Voice from the Annex, by José Bowen, a song cycle based on texts written by Anne Frank, performed by Sheila Converse, 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, Bryan auditorium.
For more information, contact either Halverson at 509-335-4361 rachel_halverson@wsu.edu, or Sun at 509-335-4622, sunray@wsu.edu.