Lakeland University Blog

Lakeland Founders’ Day Lecture remembers Holocaust

Lakeland Founders’ Day Lecture remembers Holocaust


Lakeland Founders’ Day Lecture remembers Holocaust

This school year, Tayler Otten, a junior majoring in English and creative writing, is creating content for the Lakeland blog, as well as the social media pages for Lakeland's School of Humanities & Fine Arts. This is the latest in a series of blog stories she's written.

Lakeland University is partnering with several organizations to remember victims of the Holocaust. The series includes a speaker, a funded off-campus trip and a concert.

The first in this series of remembrance and respect is the annual Lakeland Founders’ Day Lecture, set for February 16 from 6:30-8 p.m. in the Bradley Theatre.

The lecture will feature Marty Thau, the son of a Holocaust survivor. Thau will tell the story of his father’s experience in the Holocaust as well as his journey afterward; from living in the woods to joining the Russian Army to receiving sponsorship to move to Sheboygan, Wis., and finally settling in Milwaukee, Wis.

Prior to Thau’s talk, the LU Quartet will set the mood with music from “Silent Voices,” music composed by those tragically silenced by Nazis.

Lakeland Chaplain Julie Mavity Maddalena and Director of Church Relations Bonnie Ziegler partnered with the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center (HERC) to offer students the opportunity to learn more about the Holocaust through the eyes of a survivor.

The organization, housed in Milwaukee, not only connected Lakeland with Thau, but also generously donated funds to provide students with the opportunity to learn more about the Holocaust at the Holocaust Museum in Illinois.

Lakeland will host a trip to the Holocaust Museum on March 26. The bus will leave from the Wehr Center parking lot at 8 a.m. and return at approximately 5:30 p.m. Thanks to HERC’s contribution, the trip will be free for Lakeland students, including lunch at the museum.

Students, faculty, church groups and community members are invited to attend the trip to the Holocaust Museum. Seating is limited. Contact Bonnie Ziegler at by March 1 to reserve a spot.

By creating an intergenerational opportunity, the Ulrich Center hopes to provide a learning experience that not only teaches but encourages connections.

“We hope that each generation can share their thoughts, experiences and stories about the Holocaust and develop an interconnectedness and sense of community among the generations,” Ziegler shared. “Every generation has something to teach and something to learn from each other, so it is important to cultivate those experiences.”

Through both the Founder’s Day Lecture and the Holocaust Museum trip, Mavity Maddalena hopes to spread awareness of the growing antisemitism in Wisconsin and begin to provide the Jewish community with a safe and welcoming environment. She said connectedness and understanding one another’s experiences are the keys to stopping antisemitism.

“I hope students get some answers to questions,” Mavity Maddalena said, “Such as, What happened in the buildup that made good people willing to look the other way, and how can we be alert to similar patterns happening again?”

The music from the Silent Voices Project will also be featured when the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra String Quartet, the Sheboygan Symphony Chorus and the Sheboygan Symphony Chamber Singers present a concert “Remembering the Holocaust” at 2 p.m. on April 16 at Congregation Beth El, 1007 North Ave., Sheboygan. Tickets can be purchased at

The Founder’s Day Lecture and subsequent events have been made possible through collaborations both within and outside of Lakeland University. The partnership of Lakeland’s Ulrich Center, HERC and the Sheboygan Symphony has created an outlet for understanding.

“One way to offer our support,” Ziegler suggested, “is to learn more about the Holocaust and the horrific and devastating effects of this genocide. We need to retell their stories so history is not repeated.”