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Student earns history trip

Emily Duke

First they took the children.

Then they rounded up sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles.
“We were taken to a railroad station, and they put us in cattle cars,’’ Naomi Warren recalled in an interview with the Holocaust Museum Houston.
Warren, then a 22-year-old living in Eastern Poland, didn’t know where those cattle cars would take her family and other Jews after the Nazis rounded them up. Those railroad tracks eventually led to Auschwitz, where a sign above the gates read, “Work makes you free.’’
Warren managed to survive the brutality of Auschwitz and two other concentration camps before being liberated in 1945.
Six million Jews didn’t make it.
They and many others were the victims of systematic murder.
Warren wanted to ensure future generations would pay heed to the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy. She and her family created the Warren Fellowship for Future Teachers, which brings 25 preservice teachers to the Holocaust Museum Houston for a week of educational training and outreach opportunities.
Two College of Education students, junior elementary education majors Emily Duke and Lee-Cassie Robinson, have been selected for fellowships in the six-day, all-expenses-paid institute, which will be held May 24-29. Duke is a Madison native.
Both students will learn how to effectively teach lessons about the Holocaust, genocide and other sensitive topics. As Warren Fellows, Duke and Robinson will be immersed in pedagogical and historical issues relating to the Holocaust and will meet and work with Holocaust survivors and eminent scholars.
Duke said she’s thankful for the opportunity to interact with and learn from Holocaust survivors.
“I feel blessed that Naomi Warren set up this opportunity,’’ said Duke, a College of Education Student Ambassador and president of the Student Alabama Education Association. “It’s more than just seminars. It’s more than just having speakers come to town.
“This is a professional development opportunity. The more tools we can put in our toolboxes, the more prepared we will be as first-year teachers.’’
The Holocaust Museum Houston, which opened in 1996, contains a number of graphic reminders of where hatred can lead. It contains a 1942 World War II railcar similar to the one that transported Warren to Auschwitz.
“It just goes to show you the power of speech,’’ Duke said. “The Holocaust didn’t start with mass murdering. It started with hate and prejudice.
“The point of this program is to teach from a very young age to be accepting of others and to respect differences. We’re going to get a lot of tools to be able to teach that.’’

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