A rewarding experience


I’m a student at UVic, but I grew up in White Rock.

I was one of 20 students involved in the first year of the I-Witness Holocaust Field School Project offered by the Germanic Studies faculty at the University of Victoria.

The goal of this program was to involve our group in an experiential learning effort to study how the Holocaust has been memorialized in Central Europe through discussion and visits to memorials.

The topics we discussed were extensive: how memorialization has changed through the years, especially after the Soviet Union fell; how different people memorialize, for example, the Soviet’s style versus the West German style; and how the concentration of feelings of “otherness” leads to hatred, discrimination and genocide. We also discussed the experience of particular groups who were victimized during the Holocaust.

We spent three weeks travelling through Berlin, Krakow and Vienna learning about the various memorials, monuments and remembrance efforts taking place. We visited well-known memorials, such as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and several concentration camps. But the smaller memorials were not neglected.

We were extremely impressed by the work of Barbara Kintaert in Vienna and her struggle against the reluctance of her neighbours to commemorate the past, and we were curious every time we found a stumbling stone: small blocks placed into the ground outside the residences of deported Jews.

Our class was lucky enough to work with young Europeans who were interested in the same topics.

The most rewarding part of our experience was the discussions we had after we visited each site.

Our different academic backgrounds and world knowledge gave us many points of view and expertise on different subjects.

Many ideas, theories, and questions were presented, which I had never considered.

These discussions opened my mind; I left the class session thinking deeply every day.

I know I have grown from this experience in many ways.

The feelings and deep questions that our visits to these memorials engendered will not be forgotten.

Sarah Prusinowski, Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Construction underway for new Cloverdale elementary school

The $33 million school is to seat 655 students

George Garrett retires from Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society board

Society completes more than 58,000 trips since 2016

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

Two Surrey schools report COVID-19 exposures, including second contact for Panorama Ridge

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Most Read