Service members, police officers and U.S. dignitaries were joined by the Auschwitz Jewish Center as they hosted a reception to honor U.S. military cadets and midshipmen on June 10, 2019, at Poland’s U.S. Consular General’s residence in Krakow, Poland. The reception featured U.S. and Polish service members, as well as Department of Defense civilians from the Polish consulate and the U.S. Embassy.
The hostess, Consular Section Chief Kathryn Porter, provided a large spread of elegant cuisine and the soothing sounds of classical music as the guests honored the cadets and midshipmen visiting Poland as part of the Auschwitz Jewish Center’s study program of the Holocaust.
The Auschwitz Jewish Center’s study program of the Holocaust, is an annual event that teaches cadets about Jewish heritage and insuring the memory of the atrocities that occurred during the holocaust are not forgotten and making sure nothing like it happens again.
“The event tonight is very important because we want to show our support for the program” said Consular Section Chief, Kathryn Porter. “We were able to bring together a diverse group of civil servants and service members to participate, whether they host, organize, or participate. Just allowing them to speak to one another and show the overall support.”
Cadets and midshipmen who want to participate in the program must go through an application process and must have a strong interest in the program and what it’s about.
“I was very interested in the holocaust and traveling,” said midshipmen Anna Duval, a student at the United States Naval Academy. “I thought this would be a good opportunity to immerse myself into the Polish culture and I was lucky to be chosen.”
The program not only educates future military officers on the holocaust and anti-Semitism, but also is an example of the forward looking approach that the academies take by discouraging xenophobia and other various hate crimes.
“It allows us to look ahead and see the warning signs of a potential atrocity,” said U.S. Army Cadet Pedro Santiago, a student at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. “This is not only about the holocaust, but how to prevent genocide, how to prevent atrocities and how to work better with our allies around the world in order to ensure more ethical operations in the military.”
The evening finished with speeches by the director of the Auschwitz Jewish Center’s study program of the Holocaust and Porter, the acting consular general and a cadet from the U.S. Air Force Academy playing the piano as the crowd cheers signaling the conclusion of the event.