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UR athletes and coaches learn about the Holocaust

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More than 140 University of Richmond athletes, coaches and staff members attended a special program of tours and talk backs at the Virginia Holocaust Museum on March 7-8.

The visits included the men’s baseball team and men’s and women’s lacrosse teams. Executive Director Samuel Asher and Director of Guest Services Matt Simpson led the approximate one-hour tours and spoke to the groups and answered questions in talk backs. Josh Jeffreys, Jewish chaplain and director of Jewish Life at the university, also took part and spoke at the talk backs each day.

Nate Mulberg, assistant baseball coach and recruiting coordinator, coordinated and arranged for the programs. He has been active in the Jewish community for many years and was an assistant baseball coach for Team Israel during the Tokyo Olympics.

Reflections on the Visit

“It was very eye opening. I learned so much …” said head baseball coach Tracy Woodson, “and I know they (the team) did too. I want to thank the Virginia Holocaust Museum for having us.”

He added, “It was a great experience for us. We have some players who are Jewish … and with everything going on in the world today, this was so important for all. To go through the museum and see and hear what happened was so important. I did not realize some of the (terrible) things that happened.”

“This experience today was huge for me,” said baseball player Harrison Clifton, who is from Richmond.

“I went to the U.S. Holocaust Museum in the 8th grade, and that was a very informative experience. I am glad the coaches asked us to come today. This is an important experience about a (terrible period) that we do not hear enough about, and it’s important that we do not leave behind (the information) after we leave. So often we don’t hear enough about these events that were so awful and other events in history.”

Baseball player Sammy Senders from Potomac, Md., said, “Since I am Jewish, this was very important for me. Also, my grandmother was a partisan fighter in Poland during the Holocaust. Just to learn a little more about that period today, hits a lot closer to home. This was a very real experience for my family. The Holocaust is very important to talk about. My generation must learn more about the Holocaust, so we can teach other generations about this terrible period.  To physically see and touch the actual cobble stones was important for me.”

He continued, “It’s still hard to believe that in the 1940s that these tragic events happened. It’s just a very surreal experience for me. It’s important to be taught and learn about this period.”

A lacrosse player Hannah Vates, from Monmouth County, N.J., offered, “This was so important for me. There is nothing more important than a human life. We learn about the Holocaust, but to come here and see the exhibits is so much more beneficial. My roommate and I have talked about the Holocaust at times. You cannot enjoy coming here, but it is so important.”

Asher noted the athletes were very attentive, respectful and asked some excellent questions.

“I am so pleased to host University of Richmond athletes and welcome other groups,” he added. “It’s very important for many more to learn about the Holocaust. That is why we are here. We need to educate many more.”

The following are additional photos from visits by the UR athletes.

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