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  • Hillels of Georgia

Hillel at UGA Holds Event for The Daffodil Project, Memorializes Holocaust Victims

Red & Black

Come spring, 1,000 bright yellow daffodils will be visible on the grass next to the “million dollar staircase” next to Park Hall on the University of Georgia’s campus. Planted by Jewish community members, the daffodils serve as a memorial for children who lost their lives in the Holocaust.

Hillel at UGA held their first event for The Daffodil Project on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. Two years in the making, Hillel member Sarah Schafer worked to bring the Atlanta-based initiative to her own campus.

“It's a symbol that the campus is recognizing that antisemitism is present, that racism is present — any prejudice or bigotry is present and they're taking a stance themselves,” Schafer, the social action committee chair of Hillel at UGA, said.

As a student in the college of Environment and Design at UGA, Schafer received support for the project from her college almost immediately after presenting the idea. After this, Hillel continued to raise money for the project.

“It's so cool to see all of my worlds colliding over something that I love and something that I created. It's kind of overwhelming, seeing this many people turn out on a Sunday morning,” Schafer said.

Before community members began planting the daffodils, Hillel at UGA hosted speakers such as Michael Weinroth, an ambassador for The Daffodil Project and Elliot Karp, the CEO of Hillels of Georgia. The main speaker was Sandra Craine, who is the child of two Holocaust survivors.

Craine told her mother’s story of resilience during the Holocaust – from the time her family’s hometown in Poland was invaded, to their liberation day in April 1945. At the end of the speech, Craine asked her grandchildren to come stand with her.

“I'm proud to present the third generation Holocaust survivors,” Craine who is the education coordinator of Georgia Commission on the Holocaust, said to the crowd.

Rabbi Linder of Congregation Children of Israel closed the program with a prayer, after which Schafer began giving instructions on how to plant the daffodils. Soon, everyone was at work with shovels and daffodil bulbs in hand.

The yellow color and star-like shape of the flowers are meant to be reminiscent of the yellow stars that Jewish individuals were forced to wear during the Holocaust.

“This is going to lead to questions because yellow is not really a UGA color. So there's going to be a lot of ‘Why is it here?,’ campus director of Hillel at UGA, Jeremy Lichtig said. “I hope [the flowers] lead to questions so it never leaves anyone's mind.”

The Daffodil Project hopes to plant 1.5 million daffodils around the world for the children whose lives were taken during the Holocaust. Currently, the project has planted around 175,000, according to Weinroth.

With 1,000 more daffodils being planted for all students and passerby to see on UGA’s campus, members of Hillel and The Daffodil Project inch closer to their goal.

“I'm looking forward to these things blooming,” Lichtig said. “As with life, everything takes time, so it'll be lovely to see the fruition of this in the springtime.”

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