This week marks an annual commemoration of the Holocaust, with local and international tributes. They honor survivors and remember the millions of people, mostly Jews, who were killed.
Local organizations also commemorated the genocide in Rwanda this week. That conflict began on April 6, 1994. Within a few months, hundreds of thousands of people, mostly ethnic Tutsis, were killed.
The commemorations focus on the past with the aim of changing the future. We’ll speak with two Oregonians — one who survived Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust and another who lived through Rwanda in 1994 — about what it would take to never see genocide again.
For Marie Abijuru, who saw two uncles killed as her family sought safety in Rwanda, it has been hard just talking with people she was used to fearing. For Alter Wiener, who has spent the past decade speaking to hundreds of people about his time in Nazi camps, the challenge can be connecting to people too distracted for history.
What do you think? What would it take for ethnic-based killing to never happen again? Have you been personally affected by any genocide? What would you like to ask a survivor?
- Alter Wiener: Holocaust survivor, author of From a Name to a Number: A Holocaust Survivor’s Autobiography
- Marie Abijuru: Immigrant to Oregon from Rwanda, lived through the 1994 genocide there.
NOTE: We’ll be continuing this conversation, with a focus on how to keep stories of genocide alive after the eyewitnesses to history have died, in follow-up show.