Students carrying white roses around campus were a part of a rose parade to promote awareness of genocide and commemorate the victims of the Holocaust.
While it may have happened roughly 70 years ago, the memory of the Holocaust is still very relevant for members of The White Rose Society, an organization seeking to promote awareness on genocide and human rights. The UT chapter of the society annually hosts the 10,000 Roses Project and passes out roses to students around campus to honor the victims of the Holocaust.
“We will not be silent,” said Tramanh Hoang, president of the UT Austin White Rose Society. “With this project, we hope to spread more awareness about genocides of the past, especially the Holocaust.”
Ten thousand people were killed everyday at the German concentration camp, Auschwitz, said Hoang. One rose is equal to one life lost in the concentration camp, which helps students realize how a genocide of that scale could affect one in five of the 50,000 students on campus. The rose also serves to promote a human rights symposium hosted by the White Rose Society next week, which will include human rights speakers.
By using the roses to spread awareness on genocide and human rights, students are given a visual reminder of the thousands of lives lost in the Holocaust.
“It is hard to get attention,” said Robert Abzug, history professor and former faculty advisor of the White Rose Society. “But the issues are there and people go to the events.”
Abzug said through the 10,000 Roses Project, the White Rose Society does more than just remember the Holocaust and its effects.
“They call attention to current crises and human rights,” said Abzug. “Action is greater than remembrance.”
Students who received roses had a better sense of understanding of the issue at hand after seeing it on a smaller scale.
“It makes you realize just how many people were impacted and harmed by the Nazis’ actions,” said electrical engineering sophomore Keldon Lou.
The White Rose Society originated at the University of Munich when a group of students were rioting against the Holocaust in 1942 and 1943. Students at UT wanted to raise awareness, so they started the current chapter, now sponsored by Texas Hillel, a Jewish life center off campus.