Classes on Holocaust, Trip Changed Alumna's Career Path
Cathleen Cadigan BA'95
For high school teacher Cathleen Cadigan BA'95, her life changed with a trip to Europe during college. "I was traveling in southern Germany and I visited the site of the Dachau concentration camp," said Cadigan. "I realized I didn't know anything about the Holocaust. So when I got back to UT Dallas, I took the History of the Holocaust class from Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth. That changed the course of my master’s degree."
Her experience also changed the course of the curriculum at the inner-city Dallas high school where Cadigan has taught a Holocaust history class since 1998. Eventually, she earned a master’s degree in history with an emphasis in Holocaust Studies, and spent time studying in Israel.
"While the major focus of the Ackerman Center is on in-depth academic study of the Holocaust, what also compels me are the individual stories of the people involved," Cadigan said. "The big picture of that period in history must always be remembered and understood. In addition to that, we have an obligation to know and remember the stories of the individuals who were swept up in it. We can't know all their stories, but we must keep alive the ones that we do know." The power of the Ackerman Center and the historical scholarship and education that takes place there, as Cadigan sees it, lie first and foremost in the Center's devotion to the truth.
"I think the Ackerman Center is vital because the Holocaust is one of the periods in history that scholars and educators can get wrong very easily," she said. "There is a great deal of false information out there. The Ackerman Center has a critical role to play today, when the last of the eyewitnesses passes away and the voices of those who deny this history are getting louder." To support the center or for more information, please visit here.