Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Rwandan genocide survivor to speak at DU

The University of Denver student organization Never Again! is planning its second annual Holocaust and Genocide Awareness Week April 28–May 4.

Joseph Sebarenzi, former head of the Rwanda Parliament, will be the keynote speaker April 29, at 7 p.m. in Sturm Hall’s Lindsay Auditorium.

During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Sebarenzi lost his parents, seven siblings and numerous other relatives. Regardless of his personal losses, as a senior government official, Sebarenzi pushed for peace and reconciliation.

“Revenge is like adding guilt to victimhood,” Sebarenzi says. “It solves nothing. At some point, we have to ignore the past and envision the future.”

The theme, “Hate Kills,” will focus on the impact individuals can have on people around the world who are experiencing the effects of genocide, hatred, discrimination and bigotry.

“The overall goal is to affect as much of the campus community as possible whether or not they attend an event or stop to pick up information,” says sophomore management major Joel Portman, who founded Never Again!

Holocaust survivor Paula Burger will speak about her experiences April 28 at 7 p.m. in Lindsay Auditorium. Originally from Poland, she survived the Holocaust by escaping to the forest. The discussion will feature an in-depth question and answer session.

Also on, April 28, Holocaust survivor David Zapiler will speak at the annual Holocaust Survivors’ Memorial at the Jewish Community Center. Zapiler was born in Warsaw, Poland. As a boy he escaped Poland only later to be captured and arrested by the Russians and sent to a slave labor camp in Siberia.

In addition, a 24-hour consecutive reading of the names of Holocaust victims will take place April 28 and 29 on the Driscoll lawn in front of Sturm Hall.

“We believe the Holocaust is pertinent to all people, not just Jewish people,” Portman says. “All genocides are similar, and it is important to understand the underlying causes to learn how genocides can be stopped and prevented.”

Other events include a showing of The Pianist (2002) and a student-led Shabbat service and dinner. Visit here for details.

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