The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum will feature McPherson College in an upcoming digital program that will discuss how students at McPherson College and other schools took action to help refugees in the 1930s and 1940s.
It will be held live on the museum’s Facebook page on March 24 at 8:30 a.m. CT.
The program explores how young Americans, while growing up in a time of racial segregation and the Great Depression, looked beyond the struggles of their own nation to respond to the Nazi threat in Europe. Speakers include Leila Braun from the University of Michigan and Dr. Rebecca Erbelding of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
In 1938, McPherson College students were moved to take action after learning about the events in November of that year, known as Kristallnacht – violent anti-Jewish protests throughout Germany and Austria. Students raised money to support Tom Doeppner, an 18-year-old German-born refugee. He was brought to the United States to attend McPherson College.
Sarah Snow, Doeppner’s granddaughter, compiled research used in a recent exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which included articles from the McPherson College student newspaper, and an original copy loaned by the college was included in the exhibit.
“The acceptance and financial assistance to McPherson is what enabled him to get a visa, which is how he left Europe,” Snow said. “This was an action out of compassion, but also sacrifice and amazing coordination on the part of the students. Opa (what she called her grandfather) was in a very precarious position, so this scholarship and acceptance to a school in the United States was literally a life-saving invitation.”
A link to the digital program is on the museum’s events calendar on its website, www.ushmm.org.