Written by Donna Baker, University Archivist
There are several calendar days designated as Holocaust Remembrance Days depending on your location. Some countries, such as France, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and Romania, mark specific dates in their history to honor those lost in the Holocaust. The United Nations designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Before the official designation, January 27 was widely accepted as a day of remembrance as it is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. This day, also known as Yom Hashoah, is dictated by where it falls on the Jewish calendar and marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943.
The Albert Gore Research Center maintains collections with materials relating to the Holocaust. Not the least of these are the records of the Holocaust Studies Committee. The Middle Tennessee State University Holocaust Studies Committee was organized in 1988 to encourage the study of the Holocaust at Middle Tennessee State University and in the mid-South. The committee encourages interdisciplinary study in Holocaust and genocide studies, sponsors lectures, exhibits, and seminars, as well as organizing the Holocaust Studies conference. These records, which are open to the public, are comprised of conference materials, studies, program guidelines, and curriculum and syllabi.
The Marion Skeen Coleman Peck Papers cover the life of an extraordinary woman. (See the exhibit Warriors with Words and Faith exhibit at the Albert Gore Research Center in Todd Hall.) Peck, a seasoned journalist, had the task of captioning photographs from the field for the Office of War Information, including images captured from the concentration camps. These images and her captions, which were unflinching in their depictions of the horrors of the Holocaust, became the “Lest We Forget” photo series. The Marion Coleman Peck Papers are not completely processed but are available to researchers.
In an interview conducted by Bob Bullen on February 9, 1987, for the MTSU television series Recollections: The Middle Tennessee Voices of Their Time, retired faculty member Ortrun Gilbert talks about her experiences of growing up in Nazi Germany, which included working as a medical aide in a concentration camp. The Recollections interviews, which are listed on our finding aid, cannot be viewed online just yet, but an interview log is available there and interviews can be viewed at the Albert Gore Research Center.
Documenting the Holocaust is a painful but absolutely necessary task. That is why at the AGRC, though we do not actively collect this material, we strive to make what material we do have on the Holocaust as accessible as possible for current and future researchers. To view these or any of our collections, please come to the Albert Gore Research Center. The public may view the Warriors with Words and Faith exhibit any time during our operational hours. Inquiries about the exhibit or our materials can be directed to our staff.