The University of Texas at El Paso hosted the University Forums, “The Holocaust, Paradigm of Genocide”
On May 20th, 2015, the University of Texas at El Paso hosted the University Forums, “The Holocaust, Paradigm of Genocide” and unveiled the Traces to Remember plaque containing the palm prints of Holocaust survivor, Mr. David Kaplan.
“Great things happen when there is a gathering of great minds,” was the opening sentence Mr. Enrique Garcia, regional coordinator of the GEAP in Texas, gave to all those present. Dr. Ezra Cappell, Director of the Inter-American Jewish Studies Program; Mr. Jaime Esparza, District Attorney; Representative of Mayor Oscar Leeser, Representative of Senator Jose Rodriguez; and Mr. David Kaplan were among the speakers present.
District Attorney, Mr. Jaime Esparza also spoke to the attendees on the idea of global peace and the violence that occurs every day in the community: Domestic Violence. “The odds are that one in three of you knows someone who is a survivor of domestic violence or is in a relationship where there is violence. Mr. Kaplan’s story is beyond words, but I will tell you that in Texas one hundred and nineteen women lost their lives at the hand of their intimate partner.”
The GEAP is on a mission, we are striving to promote peace at an international level, thus strengthening the principles of love for life, human dignity, tolerance, quality, justice, liberty and solidarity; in addition to emphasizing the peaceful resolution of conflicts. These atrocious events are what drive us to do what we do, this is what we fight for, we, as Activists for Peace are trying to ensure that the world of tomorrow does not see this again.
CEO and Global Ambassador, Dr. William Soto, sent a speech to be read during the event on the importance of raising awareness in present and future generations on the factors that led up and the circumstances that allowed the Holocaust to be carried out, and the consequences it left in humanity. He also said: “The survivors of the Holocaust are slowly leaving us. The generation that lived close the ravages of war is dying. The gradual disappearance of witnesses and victims of this barbarism, violence and contemporary product of hatred, intolerance and discrimination, are premises that call upon academics, political leaders, governors and lawmakers to take action, to promote education with a humanistic approach, where the Holocaust is studied as a paradigm of genocide and activities and projects are generated in which students can understand and interject all the lessons of this shameful part of the history of mankind.”
Dr. Ezra Cappell spoke of his family history and how he grew up hearing the many stories is grandfather shared with him of when he was in the Holocaust. He explained how he involves his students in reflections and different techniques on making them aware of the different ways they can help their community and defend human rights. “I am especially proud today to honor here today Mr. David Kaplan. He is a man who survived unspeakable horrors as a young man. But despite his difficult history he spent many years helping to build and helping to educate his El Paso community and he always brings with him a message of peace. He spoken many times to my classes here at UTEP and always speaks from his heart about, of all things, forgiveness.”
Mr. David Kaplan honored the guests with his life’s story. He spoke of his survival during the Holocaust, of how he escaped death as a child because he was working as a shoemaker in a concentration camp and a death march that lasted around 12 days. “I decided I’ll forgive everyone that did wrong to me and I’ll go on with my life.”
The event concluded with the unveiling of the Traces to Remember plaque and a walk through of a photographic exhibition of the Holocaust.