Union University
Union University Dept of History

Department News

Group Does Holocaust Tour in Europe

Jun 6, 2010

Twenty-two people participated in the 2010 European Holocaust tour sponsored by the history departments of Union University and the University of Tennessee at Martin. The group left Memphis for Europe on May 23 and returned to the States on June 6. While abroad, participants visited sites in Germany, the Czech Republic, and Poland. Major cities included on the group’s itinerary included Berlin (Germany), Prague (Czech Republic), Cracow (Poland), Lublin (Poland), and Warsaw (Poland). Dr. Stephen Carls, chair of Union’s history department, and Dr. Alice-Catherine Carls, the Tom Elam Distinguished Professor of History at UTM, served as the trip leaders.

Among the travelers were eight Union University students who prepared for the trip by meeting once a week for an hour-and-a half during the spring semester either in a special section of the course World Civilization from the 18th Century (HIS 180/102) or in a course called History of the Holocaust (HIS 380/395). Students completed the course requirements by participating on the trip and by keeping a journal of their overseas experiences.

The participants saw many Holocaust-related sites during their travels in Europe. These included Nazi concentration camps at Flossenbürg (Germany), Theresienstadt (Czech Republic), Auschwitz (Poland), and Majdanek (Poland). They also visited the Wannsee Conference villa where Nazi officials met to coordinate their efforts for the “Final Solution,” the Cracow ghetto, the Warsaw ghetto, the Jewish Memorial in Berlin, Jewish synagogues, the Jewish History Museum in Berlin, and the Topography of Terror Museum in Berlin. While at Auschwitz, the group met with Father Manfred Deselaers at the Catholic-run Center for Dialogue and Prayer; Dr. Deselaers, the head of the education and programming department at the center, led a discussion session on the Nazi camp at Auschwitz and the Holocaust in general.

In addition, the group had the opportunity to see other aspects of the societies they encountered in Central Europe. While in Berlin, they visited the German Reichstag building, the German Resistance Museum, and the Charlottenburg Palace; several also went through the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. In Prague, many saw St. Vitus Cathedral, the Municipal House, the Astronomical Clock, the Charles Bridge, and the Petrin Tower. Visits to the Wawel Castle and Jagiellonian University were included in the group’s itinerary for Cracow. In Lublin, group members stayed at the historic Grand Hotel, with the chance of seeing the city’s Old Town on their own in the evening. Finally, the travelers saw a number of sites in Warsaw, including the Warsaw Uprising Museum, the city’s Old Town, St. Anne’s Church, Sigismund’s Column, and the Wilanow Palace. A number of participants also visited the library of Warsaw University.

Holocaust travelers gather together outside the Gugelhof Restaurant in Berlin after finishing their welcome meal there on May 24.

Holocaust tour members listen to a German Reichstag tour guide talk about the prayer room where they are sitting in the Reichstag building in Berlin on May 25.

After a day-long tour of several sites, tour members gather outside the Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin on May 26. They are (front row, left to right) Dr. Stephen Carls, Caraline Rickard, Dr. Beverly Boutwell, Dr. Janet Belsky, Anderson Stallings, Mary Ellen Poe, and Ashley Geno; (back row, left to right) Shannon Breeden, Margaret Ann Lamb, Anna Turnipseed, Jill Reynolds, Rebecca Reynolds, Brandi Stewart, Robert Callery, Bethany Burkeen, Chase Sowell, Sandra Thompson, Zach Forster, Shelby Sargent, Dr. Alice-Catherine Carls, Mary Jane Garrott, and Dr. Sandra Horvath-Peterson.

Union University student Caraline Rickard passes through the entry gate into the Gestapo prison at Theresienstadt on May 27.

The gothic beauty of St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague is evident from this view of the church’s interior. The Tennessee group visited there on May 28.

One enjoys a beautiful view of St. Vitus Cathedral and its surroundings from the top of the Petrin Tower, where some of the Tennessee travelers went on May 28.

Several travelers from Tennessee enjoy the art nouveau splendor of the Imperial Café in Prague as they prepare to eat dinner on May 28. They are: (starting on the left and going clockwise) Brandi Stewart (face obscured), Robert Callery, Caraline Rickard, Mary Ellen Poe, Anna Turnipseed, Dr. Alice-Catherine Carls, Chase Sowell, and Zach Forster.

The Holocaust travelers visited the Nazi concentration camp at Flossenbürg on May 29. Caraline Rickard stands by a poster of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was executed at the camp on April 9, 1945.

Sixteen people ate dinner together at a restaurant in Cracow on May 30. They are: (table on left, moving clockwise) Anna Turnipseed, Mary Ellen Poe, Caraline Rickard, Dr. Beverly Boutwell, Dr. Janet Belsky, Dr. Sandra Horvath-Peterson, Chase Sowell, Zach Forster, Brandi Stewart, and Robert Callery; (table on right, moving clockwise) Dr. Stephen Carls, Mary Jane Garrott, Anderson Stallings, Shelby Sargent, Dr. Alice-Catherine Carls, and Ashley Geno.

The Union University contingent stands at the Wawel Castle in Cracow on May 31. They are: (left to right) Robert Callery, Brandi Stewart, mary Jane Garrott, Shelby Sargent, Ashley Geno, Mary Ellen Poe, Rebecca Reynolds, Caraline Rickard, and Dr. Stephen Carls.

The Holocaust travelers enter the Auschwitz concentration camp complex on May 31, with their guide providing them with general information about Auschwitz I.

The Gate House at Auschwitz II - Birkenau is the best known symbol of the camp where the murder of Jews took place on an industrial scale. The Holocaust travel group visited Birkenau on the afternoon of May 31.

The travelers meet with Father Manfred Deselaers at the Center for Dialogue and Prayer following their visit to Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II (Birkenau). Dr. Deselaers is wearing a gray sweater and has his hands folded.

Group members listen intently to their Cracow guide while visiting a Jewish synagogue in Cracow on June 1. They are: (front row, left to right) Chase Sowell, Zach Forster, Mary Ellen Poe, Caraline Rickard, and Sandra Thompson; (second row, left to right) Dr. Janet Belsky, Dr. Beverly Boutwell, Dr. Sandra Horvath-Peterson, Shannon Breeden, and Margaret Ann Lamb; (third row, left to right) Anderson Stallings, Mary Jane Garrott, Ashley Geno, hidden person, and Dr. Alice-Catherine Carls; (fourth row, left to right) Rebecca Reynolds and Bethany Burkett.

Students from Union, UTM, and Rhodes College touch the top bell in the bell tower at the Wawel Cathedral on June 1, a gesture that supposedly will assure them a fulfillment of their wishes. They are: (left to right) Zach Forster, Robert Callery, Anna Turnipseed, Brandi Stewart, (in front of Brandi) Mary Ellen Poe, and Caraline Rickard.

Group members move across the balcony of the courtyard at Jagiellonian University in Cracow on June 1 on their way to a tour of some of the university’s historic rooms. They are: (moving backward from right to left) Anderson Stallings, Shelby Sargent, Mary Ellen Poe, Caraline Rickard, Robert Callery, Brandi Stewart, Shannon Breeden, Rebecca Reynolds, Margaret Ann Lamb, Bethany Burkett, Jill Reynolds, Dr. Beverly Boutwell, Dr. Janet Belsky, Dr. Sandra Horvath-Peterson, and Chase Sowell.

Holocaust study travelers, visiting the Nazi death camp at Majdanek in Poland on June 2, walk to the Majdanek Mausoleum where the ashes of thousands of Nazi murder victims are located.

A sign in the main lobby of the historic Polonia Palace Hotel in Warsaw welcomes the Union University group of travelers on June 3.

Holocaust travelers prepare to enjoy a wonderful dinner together at the Folk Gospoda Restaurant in Warsaw on June 3. They are (left to right) Dr. Stephen Carls, Margaret Ann Lamb, Shannon Breeden, Anna Turnipseed, Chase Sowell, Mary Ellen Poe, Caraline Rickard, Zach Forster, Brandi Stewart, Robert Callery, and Dr. Alice-Catherine Carls.

The Union University contingent stands at the Wilanow Palace on June 4. They are: (left to right) Rebecca Reynolds, Caraline Rickard, Mary Ellen Poe, Robert Callery, Brandi Stewart, Dr. Stephen Carls, Ashley Geno, Mary Jane Garrott, and Shelby Sargent.

Castle Square in Warsaw’s Old Town is strikingly beautiful from the Bell Tower of St. Anne’s Church nearby. Dr. Stephen Carls climbed the tower on June 5 to take the photo.

Union University student Shelby Sargent decides what dessert to choose from the vast array on display during the Holocaust group’s farewell dinner in Warsaw on June 5.