Auschwitz Jewish Center  

Midshipmen of 2010 AJCF Program

Personal Reflections

From the Auschwitz Jewish Center:

"The American Service Academies Program is a three-week educational initiative created by the Auschwitz Jewish Center (AJC) for a select group of cadets and midshipmen from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the Honors Program at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Focusing on the Holocaust and related contemporary moral and ethical dilemmas, this in situ program provides an authentic learning experience for future military officers that extends beyond what they are taught in their Academy classrooms. The poignancy of the setting not only educates them about the past, but also stimulates dialogue about its relationship to the present and the future. It is within this framework that the Academy students can understand what can happen in the absence of open and democratic governing institutions - when evil is given free reign, when fear overpowers ethics, and when democratic ideals are not defended. The program includes visits to and workshops at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust and two weeks of travel in Poland. While in Poland, the group works to gain a better understanding of pre-war Jewish life and its subsequent devastation through studying with historians and dignitaries, visiting sites of Jewish history, and meeting with survivors and a Righteous Gentile.

At the close of the program, the students in the cohort are required to hand in a five to eight page reflection on their experience and the issues it raised for them. The following are excerpts from these papers."

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