A new Anne Frank Center aims to reshape racism through Holocaust education

by Msnbctv news staff

COLUMBIA, S.C. (RNS) — The red-brick Georgian-style house on a tree-lined road on the coronary heart of the College of South Carolina campus has no indicators out but. It’s as nameless, for the second, because the red-brick Dutch townhouse the place Anne Frank hid together with her household from German troopers.

Opened Wednesday (Sept. 15), on the eve of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, the home is North America’s first everlasting Anne Frank Heart, devoted to finding out the legacy of the German-Dutch author whose well-known diary chronicled the 2 years she spent hiding in a secret annex in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam.

Frank, who died of typhus fever on the Bergen-Belsen focus camp on the age of 15, is probably the Holocaust’s most beloved image. Now she is being memorialized within the coronary heart of the South as a part of an academic effort to stem not solely hatred of Jews, however bigotry, discrimination and racism extra broadly.

Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, can also be the birthplace of Dylann Roof, the white supremacist neo-Nazi who in 2015 killed 9 members of a historic Black church in Charleston. In 2017 he was sentenced to loss of life.

Starting this semester, some 100 sections of “College 101,” a required class for all incoming college students, will tour the middle. Ultimately, all first-year college students are anticipated to tour the middle, led by peer guides who’ve been educated to debate how society ought to reply to genocidal ideologies such because the one which killed 6 million folks as a result of they had been Jews.

The Anne Frank Heart on the College of South Carolina in Columbia is situated within the Barringer Home. RNS picture by Yonat Shimron

It’s this peer-guided studying, developed on the Anne Frank Home in Amsterdam, that faculty officers hope will take Frank’s story far past the college campus. They finally plan to coach middle- and high-school lecturers to guide guided excursions for most of the people.

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The middle is the brainchild of Doyle Stevick, affiliate professor of instructional management on the College of South Carolina, who’s an professional on Holocaust training. Stevick believes peer training has the ability to cease hatred in its tracks.

“Younger folks all know the ability of peer stress as a damaging, however few acknowledge their very own capability to be a constructive affect on each other as peer leaders,” mentioned Stevick. “I hope we may help college students notice their very own potential to result in each other’s higher angels and construct a neighborhood of upstanders.”

Doyle Stevick is the executive director of the Anne Frank Center and an associate professor of educational leadership at the University of South Carolina. RNS photo by Yonat Shimron

Doyle Stevick is the chief director of the Anne Frank Heart and an affiliate professor of instructional management on the College of South Carolina. RNS picture by Yonat Shimron

Stevick, who will not be Jewish, has been related to Amsterdam’s Anne Frank Home since 2013 and has introduced six of its touring displays to South Carolina colleges. His curiosity will not be restricted to antisemitism, which has elevated dramatically previously few years, within the U.S. and overseas: He’s as involved with the rise of white nationalism and racism towards Blacks and the way younger folks would possibly find out about inclusion, pluralism and democracy.

Stevick was a Ph.D. candidate in classics at Indiana College Bloomington and educating Latin in 1999 when a photograph of a scholar he had simply failed six weeks earlier flashed on CNN.

Benjamin Nathaniel Smith was wished for against the law spree that began with the capturing and wounding of 9 Orthodox Jews within the West Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago and ended with the killing of a Black Northwestern College basketball coach and a Korean graduate scholar at Indiana College.

Smith, who killed himself after a high-speed chase with police, was a member of the neo-Nazi World Church of the Creator, led by Matt Hale.

“That shook up all the things I believed I knew,” mentioned Stevick. “I had a picture of a racist as a Klan member or a neo-Nazi with a shaved head. I assumed it was folks seething hatred that I may spot a mile away. However I had one proper underneath my head and I didn’t notice it.”

He deserted his analysis and set about making an attempt to grasp how society would possibly assist forestall racist extremism by means of Holocaust training. His dissertation examined Holocaust training in Estonia, a former Soviet republic.

Later, when he co-edited a ebook on Holocaust training for UNESCO, the United Nations Academic, Scientific and Cultural Group, he met leaders of the Anne Frank Home in Amsterdam and commenced working with their mannequin for peer training.

The Anne Frank Center, in Columbia, South Carolina, includes a desk similar to the one that Anne Frank wrote at. She was given a pink checkered diary on her 13th birthday just before the family went into hiding in 1942. RNS photo by Yonat Shimron

The Anne Frank Heart, in Columbia, South Carolina, features a desk much like the one which Anne Frank wrote at. She was given a pink checkered diary on her thirteenth birthday simply earlier than the household went into hiding in 1942. RNS picture by Yonat Shimron

The middle’s 1,060 sq. toes of exhibition house displays Stevick’s twin agenda. Frank’s story is interspersed with pictures, timelines and references to the segregated South, which helped form Adolf Hitler’s racist agenda.

The exhibit notes that Anne Frank was born in 1929 — the identical 12 months as Martin Luther King Jr., who additionally misplaced his life to racist ideology. It options black-and-white pictures of Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda alongside a photograph of a segregated bus station in Durham, North Carolina, from the identical period. The exhibit house closes with artifacts left behind by German prisoners detained in Columbia, South Carolina, through the warfare.

“The Anne Frank Heart lets us concentrate on points which might be historic and sadly very modern,” mentioned Rabbi Meir Muller, a professor of early childhood training on the college. “We all know that antisemitism is on the rise. We need to give it a voice, and we additionally need to carry up problems with racism, which could be very outstanding right here within the South. The Anne Frank Heart permits a sure convergence.”

Columbia, a metropolis of 133,000, is house to about 3,000 Jews. Many have welcomed the middle, which grew to become a actuality because of the assist of former college President Harris Pastides, who agreed to surrender a part of his workplace house to make room for the middle.

Town now has the excellence of becoming a member of Berlin, London and Buenos Aires because the fourth official companion of Amsterdam-based Anne Frank Home.

The Anne Frank Center, in Columbia, South Carolina, shows a recreation of the hidden bookshelf behind which was a door to the secret annex where Anne Frank and her family hid from 1942 to Aug. 4, 1944, when they were discovered and sent to concentration camps. Anne died of typhus at Bergen Belsen in 1945. RNS photo by Yonat Shimron

The Anne Frank Heart, in Columbia, South Carolina, exhibits a recreation of the bookshelf behind which was a door to the key annex the place Anne Frank and her household hid from 1942 to Aug. 4, 1944, after they had been found and despatched to focus camps. Anne died of typhus at Bergen-Belsen in 1945. RNS picture by Yonat Shimron

Mary McElveen, a second-year scholar who’s the non secular occasions and cultural programming vp at Hillel, the Jewish campus group, and one in all about 500 Jews on a campus of 34,000, mentioned she feels comfy as a Jewish scholar however can also be cautious about sharing her Jewish religion.

“I’ve met so many individuals who’ve lacked in Holocaust training and don’t know who Anne Frank was,” mentioned McElveen.

At a time when American Jews are once more on the defensive, the middle is a welcome addition, mentioned Rabbi Sruly Epstein, a Chabad rabbi on the college.

“Jewish college students don’t have to be happy with not being bothered or not experiencing antisemitism,” Epstein mentioned. “They are often public about their Jewish delight, their historical past and heritage.”

With the opening of the middle, funded by the Anne Frank Home in Amsterdam, the college and personal donations, Stevick hopes it cements the college’s dedication to inclusion and civil society.

“If we will construct a neighborhood of upstanders and we count on each other to face up collectively,” he mentioned, “then we’re responding the way in which we have to be. That’s one thing we may help folks wrap their minds round.”

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