Professor Doris Bergen

A lesson in empathy

I took a class in Holocaust studies while getting my undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont. I doubt Doris would remember me now, but she has had a profound effect on my life. Growing up as a second generation Holocaust survivor, I would always hear stories around the dinner table or in the back of a car on a long drive. Doris gave me the understanding and historical context I needed. She taught me to bear witness to the events that took place and then learn from them. In that one semester I uncovered the meaning of empathy and it has been a thread in my work ever since.

Photo by: Michael Rajzman
Image courtesy: Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre