They’re ambassadors against hatred.
Fourteen Hunter College students recently completed a course of study giving them the tools to fight anti-Semitism on campus and in their own lives.
The students — participants in the Eva Brust Cooper Fellowship Program, a project of Hunter's Jewish Studies Center and its director, Leah Garrett — received certificates and met with Eva Cooper HCHS ’52 HC ’56 MA ’58.
A Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor who funded the program in order to stop the spread of hatred here, Eva Cooper described her life as a child hiding on farms and moving by night to escape deportation to Hitler’s death camps. Especially moving was her description of how her non-Jewish childhood friends ostracized her for her Jewishness.
“Eva Brust Cooper’s extraordinary and timely gift — and her compelling life story — have helped so many students understand how to counter antisemitism and hatred more generally,” said Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab.
The Cooper Fellows, who represent a variety of faiths and majors, attended four seminars on the history of antisemitism and learned methods to counteract the hatred, including practical ways to speak up against bigotry and to help someone being targeted.
Over the Presidents’ Day weekend, the fellows visited the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Guided by Jewish Studies faculty and Hunter’s Hillel rabbi, they toured exhibits on the rise of Nazism and the “Final Solution” and walked through a cattle car that carried thousands of Jews to death camps.
Along the way, they discussed topics such as racial antisemitism, Jewish responses to persecution, America’s role in World War II, and more recent genocides, such as the 2017 massacre in Burma of the Rohingya people.