Rabbi Dr. Rosenberg Calls for Holocaust Education
The Commentator’s History Section recently published an article detailing how Yeshiva College students, for the most part, did not actively protest against the Holocaust. Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg, Professor of Speech at Yeshiva University, spoke to The Commentator in response to this article. Rosenberg was born in a Displaced Persons camp in Germany and lost many relatives, including two older siblings, during the war. He has spent many years as an advocate for increased Holocaust studies, and has recently published the Rosenberg Holocaust Siddur with added prayers and essays commemorating the Holocaust.
Rabbi Rosenberg believes that it is an embarrassment that Yeshiva University does not offer graduate courses in Holocaust studies. He passionately argues for the importance of high-level Holocaust education, and details how he has repeatedly fought for the creation of such classes. Rosenberg remarks that he has been denied the opportunity to teach such courses himself. According to Rosenberg, there are only two or three classes taught each semester on the Holocaust, far fewer than in most secular universities. Many of the buildings on campus were donated by Holocaust survivors, and Rosenberg believes that it is a disgrace that in the buildings that bear the name of the survivors, there are relatively few classes taught on the Holocaust.
When asked by The Commentator why he thinks that no Holocaust studies graduate program exists, he cites two reasons. University officials have told Rosenberg that Yeshiva does not offer more classes on the Holocaust simply due to a lack of funding. However, Rosenberg believes that the lack of courses reflects an attitude within the University of solely looking towards the future, instead of reflecting on the past. He equates this attitude with the apparent apathy of Yeshiva students during the Holocaust.
According to Rosenberg, the uniqueness of Yeshiva University comes from its goal of preparing the current generation of Jewish youth for future leadership positions. He believes a failure to instill in current youth what happened during the Holocaust will allow future revisionists the chance to deny that the Holocaust ever happened. Rosenberg feels that education is the only way to ensure the Holocaust is never forgotten.