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May 31, 1991 - Image 97

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-05-31

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• •

MC 383

• •

• • • • • •

• •


planned for the class. These
include interactive discus-
sions, films, guest lectures, or
even a field trip to the
Holocaust Memorial Center
in West Bloomfield.
Rev. Lyons personally
guides the students through
the HMC and encourages
them to look closely at the
Nazi propaganda, the
uniforms of Auschwitz in-
mates, the footage of cattle
cars, and the exhibit about
the Warsaw Ghetto.
"It's terrible, just ter-
rible . . ." one student
whispered to herself while
staring up at a 12-foot black-
and-white photo of Auschwitz,
where millions of Jews, gyp-
sies, homosexuals, com-
munists, and countless other
victims of the Nazis perished.
The class appeals to many
non-Jewish students at MSU,
as well as to Jews. For
Patricia McCormick, a junior
studying international rela-


Special to The Jewish News

or many students
at Michigan State
University — Jew-
ish and non-Jewish
— a spring class is
drawing special attention,
MC 383: "The Jews, Anti-
Semitism and Intergroup
Relations" saw 70 students
vie for 40 spots in the class. It
has become a choice elective
for many in James Madison
College and participants in
MSU's Jewish studies
It includes the history of
anti-Semitism, Jewish-
Christian intergroup rela-
tions before and during the
Holocaust, the role of the
churches during the Nazi
period, and the factors which
led up to Hitler's Final
This is the second year that
Reverend James Lyons of
Southfield's Ecumenical In-
stitute for Jewish-Christian
Studies has been the visiting
lecturer for MC 383. He
travels to East Lansing twice
a week to lecture and hold of-
fice hours.
On the first day of class,
Rev. Lyons established his
rules: "I will not teach you
the Holocaust. Rather, the
Holocaust will teach you."
Each time he comes to class,
Rev. Lyons wears a pin that
displays the Hebrew word
Zachor — Remember. When
students ask him about the
pin, he responds, "Each time
I place this pin on my jacket,
I stop and think of my
daughter, and my grand-
daughters. I rededicate myself
to trying to end hostilities in
the world, hostilities which
arise out of the Shoah


Rob Nosanchuk is a
graduating senior in MSU's
College of Arts and Letters.
Beginning this summer, he
will be an intern in the
National Youth Division of
the Union of American
Hebrew Congregations.

The Rev. Lyons and
"Jews, Anti-Semitism
and Intergroup

David Gastworth
responds to a

"He wants us to
see the Holocaust
as something more
than a historical

Photos by Carrie Rosema

— Marc Newman

For Marc Newman, a senior
at MSU studying political
philosophy, one of the advan-
tages to Reverend Lyons' in-
struction is "the way he ap-
proaches it. He wants us to
see the Holocaust as some-
thing more than a historical
event, something that hap-
pened." Mr. Newman, who is
from Farmington Hills, likes
that Reverend Lyons "wants
us to write papers about the
parts of the Shoah with which
we are struggling. He does
teach from a historical light,
but more about issues of how
to live your life."

Many Jewish students, like
Mr. Newman, enjoy Rev.
Lyons' preference to focus on
the choices that were made
during the Nazi period, the
depths of human behavior,
and the cruelty endured by
victims of the Holocaust.
Before Rev. Lyons became a
visiting lecturer at MSU, the
class was taught by Professor
Kenneth Waltzer, a Holocaust
expert who focused more on
the historical perspective.
Professor Waltzer often prod-
ded his students to ask ques-
tions about the Shoah in its
"specificity" and "particulari-

ty" when compared with
other historic atrocities.
Professor Waltzer now
serves as James Madison Col-
lege's acting dean and super-
vises Rev. Lyons while guest
lecturing about the "United
States Reactions During the
Students under Professor
Waltzer and Rev. Lyons react
emotionally to the message of
the class, frightened about
what can happen when a man
like Hitler comes to power.
Another element which
makes MC 383 unique are
the special events that are

tions, her Catholic school
education made for an in-
teresting contrast to learning
about the Shoah from Rev.
Lyons, a Congregational
minister. Ms. McCormick,
who grew up in Monroe, took
a class in parochial school in
which she sensed "many
more questions about who
was responsible, who was to .
blame" for the Nazi
Rather than "pointing
fingers at anyone," Ms.
McCormick says MC 383 is
allowing her to "learn about
what happened and why. For
me, it's much more a question
of 'What is my role today in
combating prejudice?' For me,
it is, 'Where did it start and
where do I start?' "




Reverend James Lyons has expanded the popularity
of a Michigan State University course on the Holocaust.

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