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A Staggering Demonstration at Western Oregon University

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You may be able to read the sign in the lower right-hand corner of the puzzle. It indicates that each flag represents FIVE HUNDRED people KILLED in the Holocaust. These are not victims of WWII. These are specifically people killed in the Holocaust.

Each flag color represents a different social group. The blue in the foreground primarily represents Polish Catholics. In the distance, you can see yellow flags that stretch beyond the camera's capacity to capture. These are Jewish people. Remember, each flag represents 500 people who died.

When reading about the Holocaust, the numbers are incredible, but they are numbers on a page. This demonstration gave a more visceral sense of what those numbers mean. If you were to pick out a 5x5 foot square and imagine just one person dead for each flag, it would be horrifying. Then multiply that by the number of 5x5 foot squares on campus. THEN multiply THAT number by 500! It is still beyond my capacity to truly grasp, but it gives a much more accurate sense of the number of people who died in Hitler's terrible policy.

Thank you to Western Oregon University for hosting this incredible demonstration.
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  1. Oomkwak11:39
  2. peterdegraafpdc16:35
  3. Raindancer18:26
  4. drobinka4418:33
  5. luvumax25:26
  6. jigidy25:30
  7. nlunnun31:59
  8. Eking134:27
  9. loiskrueger42:17
  10. morgie43:46


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Thank you, Eking1, your comments were very thoughtful. It really is astounding how cruel and heartless we humans can become under the right circumstances. Hopefully, reminders like this one will keep us on guard against such horrors.

Astounding! Still beyond my comprehension, but thank you for giving me a clearer view of this horrific part of history. In addition, as I worked on this puzzle, each piece found me thinking of the meaning of the puzzle.


Right you are, jigidy! Thank you for solving this puzzle and sharing your wise thoughts on the matter.


Thank you for showing this incredible representation. This horrible story needs to be told especially to the generations of young people. It is hard to believe this really happened. We need to be reminded so it never happens again.

I'm sure does. One of her majors was sign language. She is now working in a school.



Western Oregon is a very good school, and has continued to grow even through these difficult economic times. It has a long history, having been established even before Oregon became a state. It has had several different names, each to reflect its focus at that time. For quite a while, it was a teachers' college, and was named Oregon Normal School, then Oregon College of Education. In the 1980's, there was a push to diversify, and more recently it has become a university. Those changes brought about the monikers Western Oregon State College, and now Western Oregon University.

While it has grown by about 50% since I went there in the 80's and 90's, it still has good professors who will take the time to deal with students on a one-to-one basis. Unlike many universities, the emphasis is on educating the students, not publishing papers and garnering fame for the university.

I hope your great-grand niece has the same regard for her alma mater as do I.

My great-grand niece graduated from OWU a year ago. Morgie

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