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UW-Eau Claire faculty, students part of Holocaust remembrance

| Gary Johnson

Photo caption: UW-Eau Claire students Joseph Beck, left, and Samuel Schneider work in Lithuania as part of a student-faculty collaborative research effort in searching for a mass grave of Holocaust victims.

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire faculty and student research will be part of an International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday, Jan. 27.

The event at 6 p.m., “Finding Matilda: Uncovering the Life & Death of a Jewish Lithuanian Poet,” is hosted by the Vilna Shul, Boston’s Center for Jewish Culture.

The event will include a panel discussion of a 20-minute documentary film about little-known Lithuanian Holocaust victim Matilda Olkin. Dr. Harry Jol, UW-Eau Claire professor of geography, is part of the panel that includes a cartographer/map maker, writer, film director, student film maker, rabbi, historian and geographer/geophysicist who were involved in telling Olkin’s story. 

“Rarely does one have the opportunity to work with colleagues from multidisciplinary perspectives in trying to solve a problem like this,” Jol says. “It is a privilege to be involved and something I continue to try to strive for in my projects.”

People are asked to register for the discussion and a link to the documentary will be emailed prior to the event. The documentary will not be shown during the discussion.

UW-Eau Claire students are featured throughout the documentary searching for the mass grave. Students worked with professionals in the field collecting data at Holocaust sites as part of UW-Eau Claire’s Holocaust program in the Baltic states, funded by the International Fellows Program and the university’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs’ student-faculty research collaboration program.

“The students involved in these projects are immersed in new culture, new historical context — few have read more than a paragraph in their middle school textbook and none have heard about the Holocaust in the Baltic state — and new research methodologies like ground penetrating radar, geospatial tools and field observations,” Jol says.