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Holocaust survivor to speak at SHU Colloquium

In an attempt to keep the Seton Hall community informed about the affects of the Holocaust, Norbet Bikales, one of the Jewish children rescued in Chabannes, France during the devastation will be the guest speaker at the Sister Rose Thering Endowment Colloquium on Dec. 6 in the Beck Room of the Walsh Library.

The Colloquium is an annual event by the Endowment in order to raise awareness about inter-religion cooperation and the Holocaust, according to the Endowment's administrator, Marilyn Zirl.

"Sister Rose always said we can never stop learning about the Holocaust and learning from it," Zirl said.

Thering created the Endowment when she was at Seton Hall to offer scholarships to graduate students who wanted to take classes in Judeo-Christian studies.

"[Thering] spent her whole life trying to reduce tensions between Judaism and Christianity as well as reducing anti-Semitism," Zirl said.
The Colloquium is offered late in the fall semester each year, according to Thering's wishes.

She wanted it to be at a time when both Jews and Christians would be celebrating a holiday, Zirl said.

Bikales came to the attention of the Endowment at a Holocaust commemoration event last spring in South Orange.

"He is actually the neighbor of our committee chairman," Zirl said. "She had heard him speak at the event in South Orange and then spoke with him, and he agreed to come."

Bikales will be showing a film about his experiences during the Holocaust and WWII as well as participating in a question and answer session following the film.

"It is an opportunity for teachers and board members in our program to get together and learn something special," Zirl said.

The event is free and open to the community, Seton Hall students, faculty and staff.

At press time, 50 to 60 people were expected to attend. A broadcast e-mail will be sent out closer to the date of the event for Seton Hall students.

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"Students should attend because they should care," Zirl said. "The Holocaust is the grandpa of all the terrible things happening in the world today-the genocide in Darfur, what happened in Rwanda and the problems in the Middle East."

She added that people cannot just "stick their head in the sand and pretend it's not happening because it is far away from them."

There are episodes of anti-Semitism and other religious discrimination in the United States, Zirl said.

The Endowment will provide refreshments at the Colloquium as well as the opportunity for people to talk to and learn from a Holocaust survivor.

"At the event, attendees will meet a man who is a renowned doctor of chemistry and a man who made a life for himself in the United States," Zirl said. "None of which would have happened if he had not been saved. Young people do not know much about the Holocaust and I've lived through it, others have lived through it and we need to make sure it will not happen again."

Jenna Berg can be reached at


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