‘It can happen again if we don’t remember’: Wichita State participates in Holocaust commemoration


Aliyah Funchelle

Rhenee Clark Swing, a graduate student from the History department, lights a candle in memory of the lives lost in the Holocaust.

The fear of history repeating itself was a common theme in Tuesday night’s Holocaust commemoration at Wichita State.

The theme was ever-present in speeches and participation from Mayor Jeff Longwell, Interim Provost Richard Muma, the Mid-Kansas Jewish Federation (MKJF) and the event featured speaker, Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff.

Muma said WSU is a special place for groups to be able to raise awareness and remembrance.

“Wichita State is a special place, a place to support organizations such as [MKJF],” Muma said.

“We must apply the lessons of the holocaust to today’s world because everyone deserves protection and rights.”

Longwell kicked off the event with a proclamation on behalf of the city of Wichita. In his speech, he stated:

“We the people of Wichita should always remember the terrible events of the Holocaust and remain vigilant against hatred, persecution and tyranny,” Longwell said. “We should actively rededicate ourselves to the principles of individual freedom in a just society.”

Resnicoff, a Navy Chaplain, earned the Defense Superior Service Medal for his work with military and civilian leaders throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East while serving as the Command Chaplain for the U.S. European Command. He also served in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.

“So many terrible things happened [in the Holocaust] it’s almost unbelievable,” Resnicoff said. “First of all, you don’t want history to repeat itself.”

Resnicoff remains hopeful for the future. He believes it all comes down to remembrance of the past in order to make a better future.

“We can be better than history,” Resnicoff said. “We can learn the lessons and make a better future than the past.”

In addition to the speakers, seven community members were asked to light a candle and speak in memory of the lives lost in the Holocaust.

Rhenee Clark Swink, a graduate student from the history department, was chosen as the WSU student representative.

Studying history, Clark Swink believes the restoration of history is what will keep the world from repeating it.

“It’s important to remember because it can happen again if we don’t remember what has happened and the events that led to that,” Clark Swing said. “It can come back.”


Correction: On an earlier version of this story, The Sunflower misspelled Rhenee Clark Swink’s name.