G-AHS students included in Holocaust anthology

PAT FRIDGEN

In 1944, Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-Jewish lawyer, used the word “genocide” to describe the Nazi policy of systematic murder, the aim of which was to annihilate all European Jews.  When the International Military Tribunal held at Nuremberg, Germany, charged top Nazis with crimes against humanity, genocide was included in the indictment. Since that time, many cases of group-targeted extermination have occurred. Even today, over 60 years later, preventing genocide remains a challenge that nations and individuals face.

In Remembrance and Reflection: Students’ Response to Genocide, students who studied the Holocaust with Martina Fegan, Greencastle-Antrim High School, have taken up the genocide-prevention challenge.  As British philosopher Edmund Burke observed, “All that it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.” 

In this anthology, contributing young writers have done “something”.  In their touching and poignant poetry, short stories, essays, and letters, they have increased awareness of the human spirit and the depraved mind.  In their reflections and inspirational tributes, they have brought to memory the estimated 170 million civilians who were mass murdered in genocides of the 20th century.  And by their shared insights and youthful interpretations of tragedies past, this anthology keeps the memory of the fallen innocents alive in the hearts and minds of those who perhaps never knew, but now will never forget. The publication of the book was made possible through a grant from the Greencastle Education Foundation.

The 86-page book was released by Outskirts Press in March.

A reception and author signing will be held Wednesday, May 26 at 7 p.m. at the Greencastle-Antrim High School library. The public is invited to attend.  Books will be available for purchase at the reception or can be ordered online at amazon.com.  Proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the Pennsylvania Holocaust Education Council, an organization that provides instructional guidance, support, and resources for educators who teach the history of the Holocaust and its relevance to contemporary issues across the state of Pennsylvania. 

Editor of the book and Holocaust educator, Martina Fegan, is a member of the Pennsylvania Holocaust Education Council. She has studied in Poland, Israel, Germany, and the Czech Republic.  In 2007 she was awarded the Human and Civil Rights Educator Award for her work in teaching the lessons of the Holocaust and other 20th and 21st Century genocides and human rights issues.  Fegan is a graduate of the Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Teachers’ Program in 2000 and the Summer Institute on the Holocaust and Jewish Civilization, Northwestern University. She is a board member of the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English.

The wise words of Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel emphasize  "for the dead and the living, we must bear witness. To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.”  Remembrance and Reflection: Students’ Response to Genocide fulfills that noble purpose of bearing witness, revealing truth, and giving life to all the men, women, and children from whom life was taken the first time, and honors the survivors and rescuers.