Jacobsons Honored at College
Ralph and Vivian Jacobson were recently honored with a reception at Sandhills Community College.
The Teresa Wood Reading Room in the Boyd Library was filled to capacity with friends, faculty and staff.
The event was held on the eve of the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the occasion in 1938 of concerted violence by Nazis throughout Germany and Austria against Jewish people and their property. This night was a grim foreshadowing of the horrors that would grip Europe over the next eight years, often called "the Night of Broken Glass."
Dean Rick Smith, of Intuitional Advancement at Sandhills, opened the reception.
"Much is often said about never forgetting the events of the late 1930s and 1940s - about never forgetting the Holocaust and the devastation of World War II," he said. "But not forgetting is not a passive act. It requires effort. It requires that the story be told again and again to every generation. It requires scholarship. It requires voices."
The Jacobsons established the Vivian and Ralph Jacobson Fellowship in Holocaust and World War II studies at Sandhills Community College.
"Ralph and Vivian Jacobson are a remarkable couple," Smith said. "Ralph is himself a Holocaust survivor. Vivian is one of the foremost experts in the world on the life and art of Marc Chagall - having worked closely with the great 20th century master during the last 11 years of his life."
This fellowship will provide the opportunity for faculty - particularly those in the humanities - to do scholarly work both at UNC-Chapel Hill and at Appalachian State University in the areas of the Holocaust and World War II.
"Their desire is for our instructors to be the voices in our classrooms that teach our students the facts and the lessons of that terrible period in human history, to inspire them with the ultimate triumph of the human spirit," Smith said.
As Ralph Jacobson spoke to those gathered, he recalled Kristallnacht, and the terror he and his family experienced.
"On the night of Nov. 9, 1938, about a month after the Nazis murdered my father, four uniformed Nazi troops came into our house, and they told my mother they were looking for men," Jacobson said. "My mother told them was Father was no longer living. They searched the house anyway, and when they came back to us in the hall, they pointed to me. 'How old is he?' they asked. She told them I was 10. They said 'That's too young.' We didn't know what that meant, but the next day we found out they had >arrested all young men over the age of 15 and taken them to concentration camps."
Vivian Jacobson told the group a story behind a particular book that is now found in the Boyd Library reference section.
A few months earlier, Jacobson met an author, Ziva Maisels, who wrote a book about art and the Holocaust, "Depiction and Interpretation: The Influence of the Holocaust on the Visual Arts (Holocaust Series)."
Jacobson mentioned the book to an employee of the library, and they tried to order it, but it was quite difficult to find. They were able to secure it just a few days before the event, where it was proudly shown.
"It's an important book on two important subjects: >art and the Holocaust," Jacobson said. "It's exciting that even at a small college, they can secure books the community is interested in. You expect that from a four-year university, but a two-year college? It's really unheard of. Sandhills often acts like a four-year college in terms of its students and faculty and commitment to projects."
Karen Manning is the director of marketing and public relations at Sandhills Community College.
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