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, October 25, 2012

BESA Now through 11/20

On Wednesday, October 17, the MCHGRC joined with the MCCC Muslim Student Association (MSA) in welcoming an audience of MCCC students, faculty, staff and county residents to the opening of BESA.  Photographer Norman Gershman was on hand to share his experience photographing the amazing upstanders of Albania. 
The exhibit will be open through November 20, 2012.  For more information, contact the MCHGRC at or by calling 609.570.3355.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Learning to be an Upstander

On Thursday, October 11, MCHGRC welcomed a group of MCCC students to the inaugural session of Upstander Training using the curriculum OUCH! Your Silence Hurts.

"Many people say they want to speak up when they see others stereotyped, disrespected, or demeaned, but they stand by silently because of discomfort or the fear of saying the wrong thing. They turn away thinking, “who am I to get involved, this isn't my business.” But as a bystander, you ARE part of the conversation. You are the audience. Your silence allows the disrespectful behavior to continue. Your silence hurts."

Attendees began by identifying their motivation for being an upstander and then analyzed the reasons why people often choose to remain a bystander in the face of the negative behavior that is a result of prejudice, bias, and sterotyping.  The number one reason: Most people believe they lack the authority to stand up to negative behavior.  In fact, they often fear the bully and repercussions of standing up to the arbiter of negativity.

The discussion revealed that being an upstander is a choice.  The authority to make that choice rests with each individual - and when an individual chooses not to be an upstander, they effectively give authority to the bully committing the offense. 

One technique for diffusing volatile situations was that of re-direction: Re-directing the focus of the discussion off of the argument.  Another technique was to respond to negativity with positivity, thereby raising the level of the conversation in general.

Future sessions will continue to discuss effective ways to be an upstander in real life situations.  For more information, contact Center Co-Director, Professor Elizabeth DeGiorgio, at .

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Unmentioned Genocide

Remember George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh?  Even if you weren't around to watch the former Beatle sing in Madison Square Garden, you've at least heard a song or two from the album.

But I bet you never guessed that'd be your only connection to a genocide.

On Wednesday, October 3, survivor and Freedom Fighter Dr. Nuran Nabi told the untold story of the Bangladesh Genocide to a packed audience of educators and students at the MCHGRC.  Giving the historical background that led to the genocide, Dr. Nabi detailed the freedom fighter movement as well as the lack of international government response to the crisis.

The crisis involved the murder of 3 million Bengalis over the course of 267 days by Pakistani forces acting on military orders.  In addition, 200,000 women were raped and 10 million Bengalis were forced to become refugees in India.  Why?  Bengalis sought political freedom in the form of an independent state - an idea with which Pakistani leaders did not agree.  In fact, the crimes committed were enacted in the name of Islam - despite the fact that the majority of Bengalis are Muslims.

Beyond the Beatles, the American Congress, intellectuals, media personalities and general public condemned the genocide, raised funds for refugees and freedom fighters, and even executed a Naval blockade against arms shipments to Pakistan in the Baltimore Harbor.  Popular response was powerful in the face of political inaction.

The Pakistani report on the Bangladesh Genocide contains a series of reports from Pakistani Generals who admit that crimes took place - but they refuse to take responsibility for their actions.  While Pakistani media and lawyers have gone to great lengths to apologize for the Bengali genocide, the official position of Pakistan remains one distant to the actual horrific facts.

For Dr. Nuran Nabi's complete Power Point presentation on the Bangladesh Genocide, email .