Several of these blog entries are reflections of various aspects of the holocaust-studies tour. These essays are designed to provide the reader with specific information about various memorials and locations as well as a personal reflection of meaning associated with a location or feature of a memorial. Some blog entries will not be animated by the holocaust-studies tour.
Additionally, I recently completed a writing project overhauling a behavior and social sciences statistics textbook. Some selected sidebar essays that may be of interest to a more general audience have been extracted and placed in this section of the website.
(Presented to students in the Honors Program at Asbury University, August, 2021.) As you know, the honors experience here at Asbury is a themed enrichment program – our enduring theme is “Studies in Virtue and Human Value.” One of our program’s guiding questions is, “What gives humans value and dignity?” We all feel valued or at least we feel like we should be valued, and most people are quick to affirm their belief in the dignity of all people. But just beneath this feeling and belief lies the question of “why.” Why do we have this feeling and belief that
Typically, on about the third day of a tour, we visit our first concentration camp, Sachsenhausen. It is located in Oranienburg, a medium-sized medieval city that sits on the banks of the Havel River, just a few kilometers north of the capital; easily accessed with only a Berlin City Rail pass. Sachsenhausen, one of the earliest camps built by the National Socialists, was originally designed to house political prisoners. Over the years, the categories of occupants broadened to include prisoners of war as well as perceived racial and social threats to the state. However, the underlying and all-governing purpose for
On the study abroad tour that I lead to Germany and Poland, we spend half a day each at Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II, more properly known as Auschwitz-Birkenau or just Birkenau. The Birkenau camp contains the iconic railhead, infamous selection platform, ruins of four gas chambers and crematoria, as well as the ordered rows of chimneys stretching out over vast open fields. These poorly functioning appliances being the only remnants left of the dreary and inhospitable barracks that once checkered the grounds inside the electrified and barb-wired fences. Auschwitz I, however, is composed of 22 two-story brick buildings originally
About an hour north on the Regional 1 train out of Berlin brings you to a beautiful German town called Fürstenberg an der Havel (Furstenberg, on the river Havel). Just a short distance to the northeast of Fürstenberg, a 3- to 4-kilometer walk from the train station around a swelling in the Havel called Lake Schwedtsee, sits Ravensbrück Concentration Camp. Ravensbrück was distinct as the only major German-based concentration camp set up exclusively for women prisoners (near the end of the war, the camp was expanded to include a men’s section). In all other respects, it was a typical Nazi
Just one city block down from Checkpoint Charlie on Niederkirchnerstraβe sits the Topography of Terror, a museum intentionally positioned at the site of the former headquarters for various notorious Nazi organizations such as the Gestapo and the Einsatzgruppen (a contingent of the Schutzstaffel, or SS; these were the specialized killing squads that ran riot behind the advancing German lines in the conquered territories of the East, rounding up and killing in mass Jews, Romani and Sinti peoples, as well as other perceived political or biological threats). Running along the front of the main museum building still stands the longest extant