Holocaust survivor Noémi Ban on the importance of remembering
Students at Western Washington University can minor in Holocaust and Genocide Studies with a new program being offered starting this fall quarter, the university announced Wednesday, Sept. 4.
At a promotional event Thursday, Oct. 17, WWU will honor Noémi Ban of Bellingham, who died June 7 at age 96.
Ban survived Nazi persecution and the concentration camps, but her family was murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators.
She inspired the new Holocaust Studies minor, along with the Ray Wolpow Institute, which opened in 2016, WWU said in an email.
“Western is the first public university in the state with such a minor,” said Sandra Alfers, director of WWU’s Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity.
Alfers said at WWU’s website that the new minor is particularly important because the state recently toughened its Holocaust education requirements for public schools.
To promote the new course of study and honor the woman who helped inspire it, the press release said, WWU will host a lecture with renowned Holocaust scholar James Waller, author of “Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing.”
Waller is a professor at Keene State College in New Hampshire, which is home to the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
He will speak on “Confronting Evil: Why Holocaust and Genocide Studies Matter Today” at 4 p.m. Thursday. Oct. 17, in the Wilson Library Reading Room. Admission is free.