Posts Tagged ‘Anti-semitism’

Alfred Tibor: Anti-Semitism and the Second World War

March 1, 2010

Work by Alfred Tibor

On March 16th @ 7:30PM, OWU Hillel and a group of other campus offices and organizations will sponsor a talk by Alfred Tibor.  Mr. Tibor is a Holocaust Survivor who lives in Columbus.  The talk will be open to the public and all are encouraged to come.  As time goes on, hearing firsthand accounts of the Nazi Holocaust from survivors is becoming less and less feasible.  We hope all who are able will join us for this rare opportunity.

A sophomore, who knows Mr. Tibor from her hometown of Bexley, has taken the lead on planning this event as a response to the anti-semitic incident we suffered as a community in December.  When she first proposed the event to me she said, “There was an anti-Semitic attack in December, but many people on campus still do not know that it even occurred…I feel that it is very important for the OWU campus to host Mr. Tibor so this incident does not just go by and is forgotten about.”  A member of a sorority on campus, she has been working with the Panhellenic Council and Council of Fraternity Presidents to ensure that the audience for this talk is a large as possible.  She told me, “Mr. Tibor asked how big OWU was and when I responded around 1,800, he said he wanted 1,801 in the audience.”  I am impressed by her energy and efforts and hope others will be too.

Last year for Yom haShoah, John Koenigsberg spoke to us about his experiences as a child survivor of the Holocaust. Of all the Jewish children who lived in Nazi occupied Europe, he is among the 7% who survived. During the Second World War he was ultimately hidden by a Catholic Family and was able to survive.  He came to the United States after the war, at age 16.

Similarly, Mr. Tibor’s story is not one that follows the familiar ghetto-concentration camp storyline.  Originally known as Alfred Goldstein, Tibor was born in Hungary in 1920 and was drafted into the German Army in 1940.  He was one of only two survivors of a Siberian prisoner-of-war camp.  He and his brother changed their last name to Tibor in honor of their third brother, Tibor, who was executed in a concentration camp along with the rest of their family.  Tibor moved to the U.S. in 1957 were he worked as a designer and made a name for himself as a sculptor who creates work in response to the Holocaust.

Help us fulfill Mr. Tibor’s wishes and fill Gray Chapel to capacity on March 16th.


Who Owns a Hate Crime?

January 11, 2010

Sometime during finals week this past Fall semester, a dorm room at Ohio Wesleyan was entered and a student’s property was damaged and stolen.  The only discernible marks the perpetrator left were a few swastikas scratched into the frame of the student’s computer.  The incident has been thoroughly reviewed by campus safety and OWU staff and administrators, however, there are no leads on who was responsible for what appears to constitute a hate crime.

Ohio Wesleyan is committed to providing a safe and intellectually stimulating experience for students of all religious and secular persuasions.  I do not believe this instance stands in contrast to that mission.  I recognize this as a single event, a crime perpetrated by an ignorant individual unfamiliar with the Golden Rule or basic modes of civil discourse.  Still, I’m appalled that anything like this could happen at a school included on the list of Colleges That Change Lives.

As I spoke with the victim, his parents, and my colleagues about the episode, a thought struck my mind.  To whom does a hate crime like this belong?  Since it happened in the privacy of a dorm room, should the student determine whether or not it is publicized?  Or, due to the ethnic slurs involved, do all OWUJews have a right, even a need, to know that such an instance has occurred in our community?

From what I know, the victim of this crime is not particularly committed to Judaism at this point in time.  We had never met until we spoke about the incident.  I thought this was ironic considering he was harassed as a Jew.  As we spoke, I wondered how our conversation might have been different if I were speaking with an active member of OWU Hillel.  How would that student have responded differently?  How will we respond as a community?