Annual Commemoration Explores Responsibility and Reconciliation in the Aftermath of Genocide

OGDEN, Utah – In the aftermath of genocide, how do individuals and nations move forward? Is reconciliation possible?

These are just a few of the topics speakers and presenters will address as part of “The Aftermath of Genocide: Responsibility and Reconciliation,” Weber State University’s 12th Annual Holocaust Commemoration. Organizers have planned several events and activities throughout the week of April 10-14.

This year marks the first time the commemoration will examine the Japanese occupation of Nanking, China. Often called the forgotten holocaust of World War II, the six-week occupation resulted in the rape, mutilation and/or murder of more than 300,000 Chinese civilians and soldiers by their Japanese conquerors. The legacy of the occupation of Nanking continues to influence Japanese-Sino relations.

All events are free, and the public is encouraged to attend.

This year’s speakers and presenters include:

A former skinhead presents “Out of the Depths of Hate,” his personal account of life as a member of a hate group. Now on the lecture circuit, he tells how he became involved with the skinhead movement, the tactics used to attract and retain members and why he eventually left the group. He hopes his message will teach people to recognize and avoid the advances of neo-Nazi groups. His experiences have been the subject of several national news stories. For personal safety concerns, he wishes to remain anonymous prior to his presentation.

Parks Coble teaches history at the University of Nebraska. In addition to researching the political history of modern China, Coble also focuses on the relationship between China and Japan in the period of 1931 through 1945, when Japanese imperialism in China was a source of conflict between the countries. He is the author of “Facing Japan: Chinese Politics and Japanese Imperialism, 1931-1937.” For his unique look into the politics of the two Asian powers, Coble received an Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award— the highest research honor that the University of Nebraska system confers.

Jan Gross is the author of “Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland,” which chronicles the horrifying and brutal massacre of 1600 Jews perpetrated not by their Nazi enemies, but by their gentile neighbors. Gross joined the faculty at Princeton in 2003, having spent the previous 12 years as a politics and European studies professor at New York University. He has received numerous honors, awards and fellowships, including the Distinguished Humanist award at Ohio State University in 2002. Gross attended Warsaw University, Oxford University and earned his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1975.

Aki Sato is an alumna of Weber State University who graduated in December with a degree in dance. Since coming to the United States from Japan she has met and become engaged to Du Hai, a Ballet West dancer who was born in China. The couple has experienced opposition to their relationship from both sets of parents and families because of lingering animosity between their native countries. Sato composed and choreographed a dance called “Mushi,” in an attempt to address the persistence of hatred perpetuated by nationalism and the ravages of war. The dance debuted in concert at WSU last fall.

Chris Vanocur, a political reporter at KTVX-Channel 4 in Salt Lake City, has been on the air in Utah for more than 20 years. The host of “On the Record,” Vanocur is credited with breaking the Salt Lake City Olympics bribery scandal. He has received several prestigious journalism awards including the George Foster Peabody Award and the Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Reporting. Vanocur has reported on the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and his personal search for information about a family member who was a victim of the Holocaust.

Daqing Yang teaches modern Japanese history at George Washington University and is co-director of the project on Memory and Reconciliation in the Asian Pacific at the Sigur Center for Asian Studies. The author of the forthcoming book “Technology of Empire,” which examines telecommunications networks and pre-war Japanese overseas expansion, Yang has written extensively on the memory and historiography of the Asia-Pacific War and historical reconciliation. A native of Nanking, China, he received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Yang serves as a historian consultant for the Interagency Working Group on Nazi German and Imperial Japanese government documents at the U.S. National Archives.

For more information about the commemoration, visit

Commemoration Schedule of Events

April 10-14
Diversity Center will help build a wall of oppression that will be torn down at week’s end
Stewart Bell Tower Plaza


Presentation of educational movies about the Holocaust, hate and genocide
Between 9 a.m.-3 p.m. daily, Shepherd Union Fireplace Lounge

Monday, April 10
Brown bag lunch discussion of the book “Night” by Elie Weisel
Noon, Shepherd Union Diversity Center

Tuesday, April 11

Chris Vanocur “Reporting on the Realities of Hate, Holocaust and Genocide”
10:30 a.m., Shepherd Union Wildcat Theater

Chris Vanocur “Celebration of the Jewish Faith and Culture”
Noon, Shepherd Union Diversity Center

Wednesday, April 12

Daqing Yang “The Ghosts of Nanking: Memory and History of a War Atrocity”
10 a.m., Stewart Library Special Collections

Former Neo-Nazi recruiter “Out of the Depths of Hate”

Noon, Shepherd Union Ballroom

Thursday, April 13
Parks Coble “Unresolved: Why the Legacy of World War II Continues to Haunt East Asia”
Presentation of the dance “Mushi” by Aki Sato
10 a.m., Val. A. Browning Center Allred Theater

Jan Gross “Neighbors: The Destruction of a Jewish Community in Poland” followed by a panel discussion led by psychology professor Eric Amsel
Noon, Stewart Library Special Collections

Friday, April 14
Tearing down the wall of oppression
Noon, Stewart Bell Tower Plaza

Visit for more news about Weber State University.


Azenett Garza, chair Holocaust Commemoration Committee

(801) 626-6249  ·


Barry Gomberg, executive director of Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action

(801) 626-6240 ·
John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
(801) 626-7212 •