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April 6, 2011 – On June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in what has been called a “war of annihilation” in Hitler’s quest for world domination and Jewish extermination. The University of Utah’s 2011 Days of Remembrance week will commemorate the Holocaust of World War II with an examination of this tragic invasion, in which hundreds of thousands of lives were lost. The theme is “70 Years Later: Remembering the Nazi Invasion of the Soviet Union.” Millions of victims, including over 6 million Jews, were murdered by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust.

The commemoration will feature a keynote address by Peter Black, chief historian at the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D. C. His address is titled, “Nazi Racial Warfare and the Invasion of the Soviet Union.” The keynote will be presented on April 14 at 7:00 p.m. in the Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Building, room 109, at the University of Utah. All Days of Remembrance events, except for the workshop if taken for credit, are free and open to the public.

“The University of Utah has sponsored the Days of Remembrance for 27 years. It is one of the oldest such commemorations in the country,” says Ronald Smelser, professor of history and chairman of the Days of Remembrance planning committee at the University of Utah. “As members of the World War II generation–perpetrators and victims alike–pass away, it is more important than ever that we remember the tragic events of that era.”

The University of Utah, 2011 Days of Remembrance commemoration includes the following events:

The Holocaust Workshop – April 13, 12:55 – 5:00 p.m. A lecture, discussion and film clips about the Holocaust taught by Ronald M. Smelser, professor of history. The workshop may be taken for one credit by registering through Academic Outreach and Continuing Education, 801-581-8969. Location: Film and Media Arts Building auditorium, University of Utah.

Candlelight Vigil – Thursday, April 14, 5:30 p.m. Location: Price Family Holocaust Memorial Garden at the Jewish Community Center, 2 North Medical Drive, Salt Lake City. Rabbis Aaronson and Schwartzman will preside.

Keynote Address – April 14, 7:00 p.m. “Nazi Racial Warfare and the Invasion of the Soviet Union,” Peter Black, Ph.D., chief historian, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C. Location: Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Building, room 109, University of Utah.

Photo Exhibit – April 15 to May 29. “These are my people!” the story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes who was the Portuguese consul in Bordeaux, France in 1940. At great personal risk, against orders from his own government, he gave out visas to 30,000 people, thus saving them from the Nazis. Location: J. Willard Marriott Library, first floor, University of Utah.

During the Days of Remembrance week, yellow cloth stars will be distributed to commemorate identity badges that were imposed on Jews and other minority groups during the Holocaust. In Nazi-occupied Denmark, the underground produced replicas of the Nazi-imposed badge, which read: “Jews and non-Jews stand united in their struggle.” The stars are available from the Office of the Associate Vice President for Equity and Diversity, Park Building, room 204, University of Utah, 801-581-7569.

Days of Remembrance at the University of Utah sponsors include: the Tanner Humanities Center, the College of Humanities, the Department of History, J. Willard Marriott Library and the Office for Equity and Diversity. For more information about Days of Remembrance visit: or call 801-581-4250.