‘Disability and the Holocaust’ discussion held in Hattiesburg Public Library
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Each year, the Center for Ethics and Health Humanities at the University of Southern Mississippi picks a different topic to focus on for the spring semester.
This year, the topic is disability, and organizers chose to emphasize the subject by taking an in-depth look at disabilities during the Holocaust.
“In collaboration with the Hattiesburg Library, coinciding with the exhibition, which is a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian, it seems like the perfect opportunity to talk about this important topic,” said Dr. John Winters, an assistant professor at USM and the moderator for the event.
The university took it a step further by holding a panel discussion to answer questions about how it connects not only back then, but to how it shaped our present, with examples like the American Disabilities Act.
“Disability has meant not only historically during the Holocaust as the Nazis were thinking about eugenics programs, but ways to both physically as well as legally separate the, quote on quote, fit from the unfit,” Winters said.
The overall idea is to bring exposure and awareness to disabilities during that time but also acknowledge civil rights and social injustice.
“It is far wider and far more meaningful and far more personal than we’re used to thinking about or that we sometimes even give credit for,” Winters said.
Winters said this is the first of several events that will discuss disability.
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