Although the horrible events that took place during the Holocaust occurred many years ago, the consequences of this dark time in human history still remain significant today.
On Thursday Creighton will be hosting an event in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day at 7:30 p.m. in the Harper Center Auditorium. At this event there will be a showing of a live docudrama entitled, “The Trial of FDR” depicting the events of the 1939 voyage of the SS St. Louis.
“The saga of the SS St. Louis has been called one of the most significant and symbolic events in the Holocaust and American history and speaks to the contemporary issues of ethics, social justice, immigration, human rights, refugee policy and anti-Semitism,” Klutznick Chair in Jewish Civilization administrative assistant Pam Yenko said.
Yenko hopes that attendees of this event will be able to reflect on the events surrounding the incident of the SS St. Louis and the Holocaust through witnessing this docudrama.
Those who attend this event will also have the opportunity to speak with four surviving passengers of the SS. St. Louis, an experience that Yenko believes will prove to be very valuable, as having the opportunity to meet with such individuals are quickly fleeting with time.
“Events such as this are soon to be a thing of the past. As Holocaust survivors are aging it will soon be impossible to be able to actually visit and speak with one of them,” Yenko said. “[Attendees of this event] will be able to meet the surviving passengers of that fateful voyage, hear their stories and be part of an international history-making watershed event in Jewish history.”
Playwright of the “Trial of FDR” docudrama and founder of the SS St. Louis Foundation, Robert Krakow, feels that society today can learn many valuable lessons from past events such as this. It allows people today to learn from the mistakes of the past, so that these atrocities never occur again.
“The saga of the SS St. Louis teaches us that when political ambition takes precedence over humanitarian need, the consequences can be catastrophic,” Krakow said. “The lessons of the SS St. Louis relate to today’s contemporary issues of human rights, immigration and refugee policy and challenge us to live up to the moral imperative stated in our pledge of allegiance; that we are ‘one nation under God.’”
The main message Krakow hopes attendees will take away from this event and his docudrama is that safe haven was refused to the Jewish refugees aboard the SS St. Louis by then President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull because they believed that “allowing these Jews into the U.S. would undermine their political aspirations” at the time.
“I want the audience to understand that the failure of the United States to accept these refugees was a huge propaganda victory for Adolf Hitler and Nazi party and helped establish the ideological foundation for the Final Solution,” Krakow said.
Krakow feels it is important for students to attend events such as this because they commemorate the memory of the Holocaust and remind people of its important lessons.
Despite the Holocaust education the SS St. Louis foundation will conduct here at Creighton, its work goes well beyond this university. T
he SS St. Louis Legacy Project’s “Education Through Drama” program intends to reach a worldwide student population through its intellectual property portfolio which includes film, theater and historical exhibits.