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Holocaust and the Transcendent


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"Holocaust and Transcendent” is a film of a unique educational experience initiated in the Spring of 2008. In fewer than twenty minutes you are taken into the former Nazi concentration camp in France, Natzweiler-Struthof where 260 students and faculty from Central Minnesota performed "To Be Certain of the Dawn.” This Holocaust memorial Oratorio was commissioned by the then Rector of the Basilica of St. Mary who had co-led a Jewish-Catholic pilgrimage to Auschwitz and Rome in 2000. After the World Premiere of the Oratorio in 2005 in Minneapolis, the professor, who had been the rabbi who co-led the pilgrimage with the priest, asked permission for St. Cloud State University and St. John’s University to be the first campus performances. As students, faculty and administrations created the means, there was an opportunity to use the experience as educational, and a tour of France and Germany was created. Some of the students who performed in various roles, also took an academic course taught during the tour, Holocaust and the Transcendent. The unique community created by the Oratorio visited synagogues, churches, Jewish cemeteries, and small towns where there were no longer any Jews living. The film ends as the students prepare for their ultimate performance in front of an audience that included survivors of the camp in which they were challenged to create an experience of memorial in a place of desecration and death.

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