Quinnipiac University College of Arts and Sciences

Visitor Speaks About Holocaust

In Students, Teaching on January 24, 2013 at 2:49 pm


By Tad Martin, Adjunct Professor of English

On December 3, 2012, Renée Glassner came to Quinnipiac University to address the students enrolled in EN101 section 84. The students had finished reading Susan Griffin’s essay entitled “Our Secret” on the subject of Heinrich Himmler, the holocaust, and the capacity of humans to practice cruelty and not feel guilt. Mrs. Glassner survived the Holocaust as a young girl and is one of the dwindling number of people who can give a firsthand account of the experience. She comes from a small town in eastern Poland called Losice (pronounced Lo-sheet-zuh) which had a population of 6000 Jewish inhabitants before World War II. Of those 6000, sixteen survived. Five of the sixteen were Mrs. Glassner’s immediate family. One of the themes stressed by the speaker was that she encountered good people and bad people. She said that without the bad people, such mass killing would not have occurred, but without the good people, she would never have survived to come to America, meet the love of her life (Dr. Martin Glassner), and have three beautiful daughters.

The overriding theme of section 84 of EN101 has been that intellectual curiosity is a necessary condition for education to occur and that much of education is what happens outside of the classroom (which enriches what happens inside the classroom). While Mrs. Glassner’s talk was not focused on a key subject of the Griffin essay (the psychology of Heinrich Himmler), listening to her account represents a kind of “reading around the subject” that college students need to practice in order to become broadly educated people.


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