Author: Paul Nesselroade

Holocaust Studies Tour, 2024, Day 3

The Memorial at Brandenburg I’m going to be super brief today. I need to catch up on sleep. We spent the day with historian and educator (and friend), Christian Marx. He works at the Brandenburg Euthanasia Memorial where he, among other responsibilities, organizes and leads group interactions with the history of the National Socialists’ attempt to rid the German public of “lives unworthy of life,” a phrase coined by academics over a decade before the Nazi’s came to power. Yes, it is a dark, dark topic. But the students did so very well. Christian met us in Berlin where we

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Holocaust Studies Tour, 2024, Day 2

Walking Tour of Berlin Our first full day of the tour was designed to ease ourselves into our topic and to gain familiarity with the many things to do within walking distance and short train rides around Berlin. On the lighter side, we checked out Checkpoint Charlie and the Brandenburg Gate (a subgroup went on to find the 1936 Olympiastadion and the Kaiser Wilhelm II Memorial Church ruins. On the more sobering side, we spent time at the Topography of Terror Museum, the Aktion T4 Memorial, and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The first batch of pictures

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Holocaust Studies Tour, 2024, Day 1

Arriving in Berlin, Getting Familiar with Alexanderplatz On this first day we gathered everyone from the airport and made our way to our hotel, sitting in the heart of the city – Alexanderplatz. This impressively-sized square was the primary city center of the former East Berlin. Its’ most prominent feature is the towering Fernsehturn, the Soviet-built TV tower built in the late 1960’s made to both invoke Sputnik and to dwarf any similarly-shaped church steeple – a comment on an imagined future, one that bespeaks of the Soviet claim that technology is the true savior of humanity; a realization that

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Ideas Go Places

About ten years ago, I found myself in mid-career and looking for some new direction. A good friend of mine, Dr. Brian Shelton, who had significant experience with study abroad trips, suggested we combine our interests and offer a psychologically and theologically themed Holocaust Studies tour of central Europe. We crafted together a rather ambitious schedule that covered 4 cities in about 9 days. Amidst the many museums, memorials, and related points of interest were two concentration camps, Dachau and Auschwitz. Even though we had over 30 students combined from two different institutions, everything went off without a hitch. A

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The Courage of My Students

Over the past 10 years I’ve had the privilege of leading a Holocaust-themed study abroad experience for undergraduates at Asbury University. After taking nearly 200 students to euthanasia memorials, concentration camps, and extermination centers, I have come to realize just how much courage it takes to say “yes” to a trip like this. To make my case, here is a brief description of what a tour typically involves. The itinerary centers on two European cities – Berlin, Germany and Kraków, Poland. In Berlin (and the surrounding areas) students typically experience the following: an interaction with diplomats at the U.S. Embassy,

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Dr. John Dickson comes to Asbury

On Wednesday evening, January 31st, church historian, professor, and podcaster, Dr. John Dickson, will be coming to Asbury University to offer a talk entitled, “Bullies and Saints: Lessons from 2000 Years of Church History.” His presentation will draw significantly from both his most recent book (Bullies and Saints: An Honest Look at the Good and Evil of Christian History) and a recent film project, For the Love of God. His podcast, Undeceptions, is Australia’s no.1 religion podcast with over 2 million downloads. Dr. Dickson, founder of Australia’s Centre for Public Christianity, currently serves as the Jean Kvamme Distinguished Professor of

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A Stream-of-Consciousness about the Holocaust Studies Tour

Recently, I was given an opportunity at an Asbury University chapel to briefly talk about the tour I lead each May. Given the super-tight time restriction, I thought it might be helpful to create a “stream-of-consciousness” description. I’ve copied it below. Pretzels, pastries, German chocolate, perogies, the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Wall, the Wawel Castle, Wittenberg and all things Luther, perogies, train rides through the countryside, walking through splendid little German towns, but what is that behind those dark walls…it looks foreboding.  ____ Churches, stunningly beautiful churches, St. Mary’s Basilica – have I ever been inside anything more magnificent? Did

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Interviewed for “This is Asbury” podcast

I haven’t been posting much recently due to a heavy teaching schedule. However, here is a recent interview by the “This is Asbury” podcast. We touch on the Asbury Honors Program and its’ theme, but most of the time is spent talking about the Holocaust Studies Tour. It’s about 19 minutes long. n If you are interested in the tour I’m leading this May (6th – 20th), please let me know. I have limited spots available due to a film crew that will be accompanying the group again this year. Here is a page with more information: https://www.asbury.edu/academics/global-initiatives-programs/travel-courses/germany-poland/ Here is

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Karen Swallow Prior speaks at Asbury

The Asbury University Honors Program invited speaker for Spring ’23 was author and educator, Dr. Karen Swallow Prior. Click here to watch her talk entitled, “Christians, Imagination, and Social Imaginaries.” (Note: the videographer missed the first few seconds.) Our next invited speaker (September 19, 2023) will be theologian, author, and speaker Kaitlyn Schiess who will be talking about ideas from her new book, The Ballot and the Bible. Stay tuned for more info about AUHP speakers coming during the 2023/24 academic year.

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Germany/Poland ’23, Day 13

So Long, Kraków Today was our last day in Kraków, and indeed our last day of the tour. It was basically “Free Kraków” – however, we did have a final meal together and we did meet as a group to discuss Pierre Sauvage’s compelling documentary, Weapons of the Spirit, which chronicles the actions of the people of Le Chambon, a small community tucked away in the hills of south central France who managed to harbor about 5000 Jews during the war. In discussion, the students drew out several great observations – and a story like this was something we all

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