Dear members of the Emerson Community,
The United Nations has designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a world-wide day of reflection on the tragedy of the Holocaust. The Day also honors the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in 1945 — 79 years ago this past weekend.
As an Emerson community, we lament the genocide of more than 6 million Jewish, and 5 million Roma, Sinti, LGBTQ+, Black, and disabled people whose lives were taken by Nazi persecution, and the scourges of antisemitism and fascism. We also mourn the current ongoing violence and loss of life across the world in Sudan, Ukraine, the Middle East, and many other places.
We know that students, staff, and faculty in our community may feel frustration, anguish, and anxiety about current and ongoing events across the globe and how they are affecting our campus. These feelings are valid. We encourage those seeking help and support to connect with Emerson’s resources, including the Emerson Wellness Center, Intercultural Student Affairs, Healing & Advocacy Collective, Internationalization & Equity, Social Justice Collaborative, and Center for Spiritual Life.
As a community, we are committed to providing opportunities to engage in deeper discussion of these subjects in the spring semester. It is critical we all continue to learn about histories of violence and oppression beyond the borders of the U.S. and within. For that reason, the College is purchasing a block of tickets for the upcoming exhibition Auschwitz: Not Long Ago. Not Far Away. This international collection gathers over 700 artifacts from Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and various other institutions to tell the story of Auschwitz, the deadliest complex of concentration camps employed by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. The exhibit will be on display in close proximity to the Boston campus from March 15 through late April. Tickets will be available to Emersonians (students, staff, and faculty) who are located in or can travel to the Boston area.
The subject matter of the Auschwitz exhibit may be particularly difficult or activating for many who choose to visit. Group reflection opportunities will be offered at Emerson for those who attend as a way to help process the experience.
Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor and Austrian psychiatrist interested in the search for life’s meaning, once said, “Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.” May Emersonians always use communication, the arts, and creativity to protect that freedom for us all.
Jay M. Bernhardt, President
Jan Roberts-Breslin, Interim Provost
Jim Hoppe, Vice President & Dean for Campus Life
Shaya Gregory Poku, Vice President for Equity & Social Justice
Robert Amelio, Interim Director, Center for Spiritual Life