Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

University travellers to explore Holocaust history

  • Print

Jody Perrun knows there’s a lot more to history than what you read in a book.

"History comes alive in another way, when you go to the place where it actually happened," said Perrun, a professor at the University of Winnipeg who teaches a second-year history course on anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.

That’s why Perrun is planning to take some of his students on a trip to see some of the most infamous sites associated with the Holocaust.

So far, 20 people — mostly students from the U of W and University of Manitoba — have signed up for a 13-day tour of historical sites related to the Holocaust and the Second World War in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Germany.

An East Kildonan resident, Perrun said the tour is open to everyone, not just university students, and he’s hoping to attract up to 25 participants.

EF Educational Tours is arranging the trip slated for next May.

While there will be some sight-seeing in places like Prague, Perrun acknowledges that for the most part, the tour will be very sobering.

"We’re going to go to one place — Treblinka — where nearly a million people were killed in a year. Then we’re going to go to another place — Auschwitz — where more than a million people were killed in a slightly longer time frame.  So I expect that we’ll all be affected quite profoundly by that experience," he said.

"The subject matter is sickening in a lot of ways, but it’s also fascinating when we try to understand how and why it happened. How could people do these kinds of things to other people?" he said.

"The answers are all very complex and intertwined, and there’s no black and white, easy answer to explain why it happened. Maybe that’s part of the fascination."

Perrun said student interest has grown since the first anti-Semitism and Holocaust class in 2009. The course is now offered twice a year, with about 100 students taking part annually.

Randy Klassen, a 22-year-old U of M student, is among those signed up for the Holocaust tour.

"It’s a great opportunity to go explore Europe and retrace the steps of probably one of the darkest chapters in human history, and to go along with someone who’s really knowledgeable on the subject," he said.

"I do a lot of travelling on my own time, but I’ve never really gone anywhere with the intent of trying to be humbled by something like this. I’m really excited to experience it and see this part of history."

Perrun describes himself as a Canadian military historian and Second World War specialist. He has vivid recollections of touring Canadian battlefields and gravesites in northwest Europe as a student himself.

"For me, it was the experience that confirmed my career path," he said. "After I came back... having read a little bit about the places that I went to and then actually going to where the historical participants had been, there was nothing else that I wanted to do with my life."

The history professor is hoping the Holocaust tour experience will be similarly valuable for his students.

"When I’ve done trips to historical sites like this, it just deepens the understanding of the academic material that we cover — it takes it to a whole other level that you just don’t get out of a book," Perrun said.

"I’m hoping the students will benefit the same way that I did. If it turns one or two of them into historians down the road, well that’s just a bonus."

For more information about the trip visit www.uwinnipeg.ca/index/history-perrun.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Readers' Choice Awards

Best Of Winnipeg Readers Survey

See the results of the 2014 Canstar Community News Best of Winnipeg Readers' Survey.

View Results

This Just In Twitter bird

Poll

Have you had difficulty adjusting to the new, lower speed limits in school zones?

View Results