This statement was submitted to the Niner Times by Dr. John Cox, Director, Center for Holocaust, Genocide & Human Rights Studies at UNC Charlotte.
To the Niner Times,
I have included (below) a powerful statement from a Holocaust survivor. In 2010, this group came to the campus where I was teaching (Florida Gulf Coast University) for two days. I was director of FGCU's Holocaust-studies center, and a local survivor, Miriam (she does not wish to give her full name), wrote a powerful statement at that time.
Upon hearing that the misnamed "Genocide Awareness Project" was at UNC Charlotte this week, I contacted her, and she sent me this statement.
Miriam just celebrated her 90th birthday, but she's still quite sharp. And she's absolutely correct that the term "genocide," and by extension, the memory of the Holocaust—as well as of other genocides—should not be exploited in this fashion. It is shameful and shocking.
And in this case, it is literally "shocking": I can't understand why the university would allow this outrageous and gigantic exhibit, full of grisly images, on our campus. Among the many problems with this is: It could easily cause trauma to many passersby.
For other reasons as well, I don't believe that UNC Charlotte should have allowed this. There is often a misunderstanding about the meaning of "free speech" and the First Amendment—which protects free speech but does not mean that "anyone can say/do anything, at any locale, at any time."
I can't imagine that this university, or any other, would permit a Ku Klux Klan chapter to set up a display in the middle of campus, regardless of whether it was sponsored by a student organization.
If you wish to learn about actual genocide, then please feel free to contact me and/or to look into the classes and activities of our Center: https://globalstudies.charlotte.edu/hghr.
Statement from Holocaust survivor
How dare you exploit our pain?
I am a survivor of genocide. Something that you might not have heard of. It was called The Holocaust.
I was born in 1932 in Warsaw, and the Nazis invaded in 1939. Eventually, they killed my entire family, most of them in a camp called Treblinka. I survived because a Christian family sheltered me, and I pretended to be Catholic.
I came to this country long after the war and became involved in the women's movement for equality. We Jews believe that a woman's life and welfare and rights are most important, and the Talmud and the Hebrew Bible are clear that a fetus, especially at only 3 or 4 months, is not a human being and that women are human beings.
I learned about your group a few years ago when you put that disgusting display up on campus at FGCU. I wrote a statement then, and I'll write it again. How dare you?! How dare you exploit the pain and suffering and murder of millions of people?