A 21st Century Resource Center

The Mercer County Holocaust-Genocide Resource Center is located on the West Windsor, NJ, campus of Mercer County Community College. We are dedicated to providing the most current resources on Holocaust and genocide education for the 21st Century classroom. Learn more about us at

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Story in History is What Counts

War Horse author Michael Morpugo has an awesome article in the UK Daily Mail titled: When I wrote War Horse, I didn't hide the horror of battle. If children are to love history, we must tell them the brutal truth.  

Morpugo argues against the education system removing the "story" from History, instead "...judg[ing] success solely on whether children can pass exams, with little time to ensure they leave school with a passion for learning that will remain with them for life."

Technological and political advancements mean that today's generation of students are, by and large, less directly impacted by war than their predecessors.  To put it in plain terms: If the Cold War seemed unreal to Generation X, what must World War II seem like to today's high school students?

When the realities of war become nothing more than facts on a page to be memorized, tested on, and all too quickly forgotten...what is the point of teaching about the war in the first place?

And if human experience can be so easily boiled down into a trivial pursuit, what lesson does that teach our students about the weight of their own lives and actions on the world scale?

History matters because people matter.  When we forget the importance of history we forget one of history's greatest lessons: That lives are meant to be lived, not lost and valued as gifts to the world, not by the blood they shed on battlefields or in death camps.

Read Morpugo's article in the UK Daily Mail.

Then, join the MCHGRC as we discuss War Horse: How One Book, One Play, One Movie can teach peace.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Don't Be a Bystander" - Eugenie Mukeshimana, Rwandan Genocide Survivor

Over 20 guests filled our Center last Wednesday as the MCHGRC welcomed Eugenie Mukeshimana, founder of Genocide Survivors Support Network, to speak about surviving the Rwandan genocide.

Before the genocide, Rwanda was a beautiful country and Eugenie's was what Americans would most likely term an "average, middle class" lifestyle.  The dark underbelly of racism, however, took hold during her young adult years.  Despite generations of intermarriage with the Hutu population, Tutsis became defined in aesthetic terms similar to those used to stereotype Jews in Germany in the years leading up to the Holocaust: large noses and horns.  In fact, the similarities between Eugenie's experiences and those of Holocaust survivors is a lesson in itself:  Prejudicial language and attitudes had come and gone in waves in the past; Tutsi parents instructed their children to keep their heads down until attitudes changed.  However, this time, the stereotyping became so commonplace in Rwanda that when it came time for the killing to begin, the majority of Hutus that had been friends and neighbors for years did nothing to stop the madness.  In fact, many participated in the killings, while still more turned their backs to the horror.

While Eugenie highlighted the failures of the United Nations in responding to the Rwandan crisis that Dallaire wrote about in Shake Hands with the Devil, her feelings of abandonment were not solely the cause of other nations.  For Eugenie, one of the greatest disappointments that remain is that the church did nothing to forewarn the Tutsis of the impending crisis.  Mission organizations were pulling their representatives out of the country while many church leaders said nothing about the growing threats.  "We had passports," Eugenie said, "if we had felt there was any real threat, my family and I would have left.  But they said nothing."

What is the one lesson Eugenie wants everyone to take away from her autobiography?  "Do not be a bystander."  We must realize that we are all links in a chain and what is done to one person will inevitably affect us all.

To learn more about Eugenie and how you can support genocide survivors living in America, visit  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Genocide is a Living Reality

To learn more about the Shaar Menashe Mental Health Center for Holocaust survivors in Pardes Hanna, Israel, check out the article on