NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Thursday is Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed around the world. Never before has SFA had an official remembrance event. Change will come tomorrow.
Jewish representation at SFA, and for that matter all of Nacogdoches, is minimal. That may be changing thanks to SFA Hillel, a student group that builds connections to Jewish journeys.
“We originally started out as the Jewish Student Union,” explained Jade Gordon, the chapter’s co-president. “But since has become an official Hilleal which is an organization that’s on over 550 campuses, in 17 different countries.”
Thursday night the SFA chapter will share a Zoom presentation from a Hungarian Holocaust survivor.
“The speaker is Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth who is the retired founder and chair of the Holocaust Studies Program at UT Dallas,” said Dr. Flora Farago’, SFA Hillel advisor and personal friend of the guest speaker.
Farago’ is a descendent of Holocaust survivors. She knows the significance of their stories.
“In about five or ten years we will no longer be able to hear the live testimony of actual Holocaust survivors,” Farago said.
The experiences have historical significance, but also can discourage the rise in anti-Semitism, members say.
“Anti-Semitism has been experienced on campus by several of our members,” Jordon said. “It’s been from anywhere from passing comments that aren’t very kind, rude questions. Nothing outwardly violent, thankfully.”
Annie Martinez is one of about 10 members. She isn’t Jewish, but she encourages acceptance.
“I have attended conferences where we talk about anti-Semitism on campus and how we can combat that,” Martinez said. “And I thought the perfect way for me was to get involved and just be an ally to the Jewish community on campus.”
The first official Holocaust Remembrance Day at SFA will share painful memories in order to silence any form of bigotry.
The SFA Office of Multicultural Affairs is placing the Holocaust speaking event on its Diversity Week schedule. Dr. Ozsváth will speak via Zoom and to a live audience at the SFA Grand Ballroom.
There is no fee to attend either in person or online; however, registration will be required for Zoom attendees. To register for the Zoom event, visit form.jotform.com/210754475322150.