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Ursula Bacon - "Refugees East" - Holocaust Memorial Week, 2005

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During the mid- and late 1930's, as well as throughout the war, Jews fled Nazi-occupied Europe in all directions. Most did not survive, being instead swept up into the Holocaust. But many did find refuge. This event focused on two stories about escape. Ursula Bacon was a wartime resident of the Shanghai ghetto, which at its peak was occupied by 20000-25000 European Jews. Although temporarily safe from the Nazis, these Jews were surrounded by another fierce conflict, for they were much oppressed by the Japanese occupiers. Ms. Bacon recently published Shanghai Diary, a memoir of her experiences in the ghetto. During her talk, she discusses life in the Shanghai ghetto. At Oregon State University, we have observed Holocaust Memorial Week every year since 1987. The breadth and the duration of our effort are unmatched in the Pacific Northwest. This program grows from the belief that educational institutions can do much to combat prejudice of all kinds, and to foster respect for the diversity that is America, by promoting an awareness of the Holocaust, perhaps the most horrific historical indicator of the high cost of prejudice. It is particularly important to teach young people about the Holocaust, so that coming generations will not forget the lessons that a preceding one learned at such cost. This emphasis recalls the motto of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: "For the dead and the living, we must bear witness."
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