News

Holocaust survivors pass on stories to next generation

On the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, students and Holocaust survivors are being paired as part of the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims [ICHEIC] Service Corps program at UM.

The program, having just completed its first year, aims to pass on the survivors’ stories of courage, loss and struggle to a new generation. Students and survivors engage in a once-a-week meeting as part of a six-credit, year-long Judaic Studies course.

According to Dr. Eugene Rothman, senior research fellow and coordinator of the program, the course consists of three parts. The first component is course credit, the second, one-hour weekly visits to the survivor’s homes in Miami Beach, and third, an enrichment component that gives the student background on the Holocaust and helps bridge the knowledge between the survivor’s memories and the students.

“It’s a brief encounter with history-it makes us more a part of humanity,” Abigail Sarminto, sophomore, said. “Overall I think that this brings a sense of relief to the survivors by letting them know the perspective of a younger generation, that we understand and appreciate everything they’ve gone through.”

The University of Miami program is a pilot-it’s the first time something like this has been done between college students and local survivors. If all goes well, this may turn into a national project that will take place at other high centers of learning around the country where there are high concentrations of survivors.

“We have seen more evil, more suffering, more brutality and much, much more loneliness and yet we were forgotten in the years after the Holocaust,” said Roman Kent, Holocaust survivor and president of the American gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors. “It’s important for the survivor and for the students because this project [promotes]compassion towards survivors, and at the same time gives students education about the Holocaust.”

The program covers student expenses and offers scholarships for eligible students to take part in it.

In the few short months survivors and students have had their meetings, the bond between them has become unforgettable, so much so that students are undergoing “trauma training” with advice on how to cope with sudden illness or death of their new friend.

“We thought that the program would go well but we didn’t realize the nature and extent of the relationships; they have gotten so close that we’ve started giving special training-how to cope with possible serious illness or death because of the tremendous attachment,” Dr. Rothman said.

“I was a little nervous about what I could give to the person-my survivor is married with children, and the age difference is huge. But after about three hours I learned that I was wrong,” Cassandra Bullens, senior, said. “They really just need someone to listen to them; they need a friend. As Jewish students today we’re so far removed from the Holocaust-it’s the least we can do; it needs to be done”.

“I have much respect for the students because they are not bystanders,” Kent said. “They are trying to be involved and they are getting involved. It’s the only way we can prevent the Holocaust from being part of our lives in the future.”

For more information, please contact the Judaic Studies Program at 305-284-8180.

Teressa Dalpe can be contacted at

t.dalpe@umiami.edu.

August 1, 2005

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Photo Gallery: UM v. Virginia Tech | Saturday, November 17, 2018 … Click to Continue » ...

The Miami Hurricanes found new life Saturday — despite so much seemingly going wrong. Big plays on o ...

At least in terms of their bowl situation, the Miami Hurricanes can take a deep, collective breath. ...

Thoughts, notes, reaction and postscripts after UM’s 38-14 win on Saturday at Virginia Tech, making ...

There wasn’t much energy in the Watsco Center stands on Saturday afternoon as most University of Mia ...

UM Libraries is presenting an extraordinary exhibit that immerses the audience in an emotional journ ...

A UM researcher is helping to lead a study on how smoke interacts with clouds and its impact on the ...

People are bombarded with news and information these days, providing opportunities for discourse tha ...

Students, faculty and staff stopped by the School of Architecture’s Korach Gallery to learn what Mag ...

The On Campus event featured innovative National Geographic Explorers—photographers, scientists, sto ...

The Canes got back to their winning ways with an impressive 38-14 victory at Virginia Tech. ...

20-point performances from Chris Lykes and DJ Vasiljevic led Miami past Bethune-Cookman. ...

Seniors Kolby Bird and Haley Templeton will play in their final match at the James L. Knight Sports ...

The No. 24 Miami women's basketball team is headed to Iowa State for the Preseason WNIT champio ...

The Canes hit the road for the final time in the 2018 regular season and it is to a familiar and hos ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.