Two weeks ago we wrote about the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission’s (THGC) exhibit “Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide.” The Southwest Collection is proud to host the exhibit from October 3rd through November 7th, and is equally excited to announce that we are also hosting the THGC’s Quarterly Meeting on October 24th and 25th!
If you don’t know about the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission already, here’s their story. The THGC was established by the Texas Senate to ensure that resources are available to students, educators, and the general public regarding the Holocaust and other genocides. Education is not its only goal. Imbuing individuals with a sense of responsibility to uphold human value, especially in the face of genocidal travesty, is also one of its primary aims. The Commission also facilitates recognition of the horrors of genocide, as well as the people who strove instead to preserve human sanctity throughout these tragedies.
An excellent example of this is the Texas Liberators Oral Histories project. Oral history programs are present in many archives, including the Southwest Collection, but the THGC’s is particularly poignant. Conducted in conjunction with Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History, this project gathered oral histories from several Texas World War II veterans in order to celebrate their service and their efforts to free survivors of concentration camps. This project not only furthered the THGC’s educational mission, but also preserves in perpetuity the personal stories that recall atrocities of the Holocaust. Even better: these aren’t simply transcripts or audio recordings that patrons must request from an archive. Many were videoed and have been made available online!
One of the best examples the interviews they conducted is this conversation with a Dachau liberator. This Mauthausen liberator’s interview and this second Dauchau-related oral history are incredible as well.
Finally, the THGC worked with the Texas legislature to set aside the month of April as Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month. In their words: “genocides begin when intolerant and hateful individuals dehumanize others in a society by putting them into separate and unequal classes and deliberately harming them. Genocides in the last two decades have emphasized the pertinence of this issue, and the threat of further atrocities remains alive in the world today.” The THGC not only wants to share the stories of the past, but ensure that the world prevent such tragedies in the future.
Those interested in finding out more about the THGC, their many projects, or their Quarterly Meeting at Texas Tech University, should contact them at (512) 463-8815 or via their website. As always, we at the SWC are always happy to answer any questions as well.
-by Robert Weaver, the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission, and the Texas Historical Commission