Campus & Community

Community dedicates ground for new Holocaust memorial at DU

About 100 community members, including many Holocaust survivors, gathered outside Margery Reed Hall Aug. 26 to dedicate ground for the University of Denver’s new Holocaust memorial, learning and social action site.

“The University of Denver is proud to be home to a project so strongly dedicated to raising social consciousness and multicultural respect in memory of Jewish lives lost to the Holocaust,” Chancellor Robert Combe said. “This project marks the spirit of inclusion and respect that DU stands for.”

The chancellor invited Hungarian Ambassador Ferenc Somogyi to speak. The Ambassador said he was encouraged to see projects like this that promote social justice and human rights.

The memorial is the initiative of the Holocaust Awareness Institute at DU’s Center for Judaic Studies. The center’s director, Sarah Pessin, said the guiding vision behind the project is the Jewish notion of Tikkun Olam, or repairing the world.

“Please hear the uniqueness of this vision,” Pessin said. “Because we are on a University campus, we have the unique opportunity to create a testament to the memory of the Shoah, or calamity, which functions in a way that no other Holocaust memorial has functioned before.”

The ground dedication paid tribute to the late Tom Lantos, who was the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress. His wife, Annette, his daughter Annette Tillemann-Dick and her family represented Lantos at the dedication.

“In order to survive, in order to create a better world, we all need to be our brothers and sisters keepers,” Annette Lantos said.

The memorial is part of a $3.5 million fundraising campaign under way by the Center for Judaic Studies. DU art Professor Lawrence Argent has been selected to design the memorial. Argent is known for his blue bear sculpture, I see what you mean, at the Colorado Convention Center.

Watch video from the event.

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