The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/m/mcvay.ken/1996/press/times-colonist.052496


Victoria Times Colonist, Friday May 24, 1996 (D14)

HOLOCAUST
Survivors encourage students to find truth
UVic symposium tells teens of Second World War atrocities,
warns of modern hate movements

By Ian Dutton, Times Colonist staff

Tears tracked down young cheeks as almost a thousand teenagers
sat enthralled, listening to a tale of love and friendship
more than half a century old.

The story is that of Anne Frank and a friend, tracking their
way through the terrors of separation, isolation, discovery
and ultimately death for Frank in a Nazi concentration camp.

The multimedia presentation by Seattle actor Rachel Aitkens
was part of a day-long Holocaust symposium -- A Legacy of
Hope: Remember, Reflect and Rekindle -- held Thursday at UVic.

Sponsored by the Victoria Holocaust Remembrance and Education
Society, the fourth annual event drew students from up and
down Vancouver Island to acquaint another generation with the
atrocities of the Holocaust and to warn of the current hate
movements.

Holocaust survivor Bill Gluck, who told the students of his
life at the Auschwitz death camp, said it is vital the young
people know about the Nazi atrocities.

"It is very hard for us to do this, to turn ourselves inside
out to talk of these things, but it is vital that these young
people know the truth."

Students were continually confronted with the sin of silence
in the face of racism or injustice.

Rabbi Victor Reinstein of Temple Emmanuel in Victoria, who
opened the session, said whenever we meet someone who is
'different' we are being tested.

"These moments when we encounter differences are tests for all
of us because ultimately the Holocaust starts when good people
stand by and do nothing," he said.

Gluck, a Jew born in Hungary, told the students the seeds of
the same kinds of hatred are waiting to germinate.

"In the part of the world where I was growing up, hate,
prejudice, violence, bloodletting was part of living -- and it
still is. We didn't know any better, we thought it was normal
and this was the way of the world.

"And when they came to get the Jews in Hungary, no one spoke
for us, we had no voice," Gluck told the audience, with anger
strong in his voice. "We prayed and prayed, but He must have
been busy somewhere else, because not even He cared what
happened.

"And who's to say it will not happen again? 'Ethnic
cleansing,' when I hear that I still get goose pimples -- it's
back."

Cyberspace crusader Ken McVay told the students what to look
out for on the Internet.

McVay, a former U.S. Marine and police officer, has spent much
of the last four years fighting the infiltration of neo-Nazi
propaganda on the Internet.

He identified a number of the worst offenders, citing -- and
refuting -- their Holocaust denials and posting an Internet
address to help those who find racism on the web.

He said that his web site tries to foster critical thinking in
its readers, especially young people.

"We encourage them to question everything we tell them --
'don't take my word for it, look it up.'"

"These kids have to start making up their own minds. History
is nothing but a determined convergence of evidence and they
have to have the ability to sift through that evidence to
determine what the truth is."

McVay told the students that the problems are theirs to deal
with.

"If your school has a problem, you fix it -- we have not done
that good a job, now it's up to you."

He said the first step in dealing with racism "is to look
inside ourselves and say, 'Hey I have some problems with that
person, with the color of their hair or the fact that they
wear a turban.'

"It's important then to go to that person and tell them that
something makes you uncomfortable and that you'd like to talk
to them about it and get to know about them. That's how we
eliminate our prejudices."

McVay can be reached via the Internet at
http://www.almanac.bc.ca/ or at kmcvay@nizkor.almanac.bc.ca
for anti-Nazi information.



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