Dr Kurt Brandhorst and Dr Rachel Jones, philosophy lecturers at George Mason University in Virginia, recently taught an undergraduate course called “Philosophy After Auschwitz”. Through the course, they wanted to confront the issue of bearing witness to what happened in the Nazi concentration camps, the work camps, and the death camps - not just as a historical question but as an ongoing responsibility for us today. Beki Martin, the Executive Director of Facing History in the UK interviewed them to find out more.
Survivor testimonies—firsthand accounts from individuals who lived through genocide and other atrocities—help students more deeply appreciate and empathize with the human and inhuman dimensions of important moments in history. They supplement what we learn from historians and secondary sources by offering unique perspectives on the difficult and sometimes impossible situations individuals were forced to confront during moments of collective violence and injustice.
In March, the Beacon Academy Class of 2014 took a trip to Washington, D.C. with the Close Up Foundation. Over the course of four days, 19 students from the class of 2014 had the opportunity to explore the most important sights in the city – places that gave us the chance to think, reflect, and learn about the United States’ democratic ideals and historical realities.