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UNCW launches lecture series on Holocaust

WILMINGTON -- In four days the nation will pause to remember the Holocaust, the genocide of European Jews that originated in Nazi Germany. A man whose family was close with Adolf Hitler came to Wilmington to speak for a holocaust remembrance ceremony. Dr. Gottfried Wagner is Richard Wagner's grandson. He said, "It is certainly a burden one has to confront. It's very difficult to live with." Wagner is talking about his national and personal heritage. He is the great grandson of Richard Wagner, the famous German composer with close ties to the Nazi party. He said, "The period between 1933 and 1945 was of course the darkest period in German history." That was when dictator Adolph Hitler rose to power and organized the genocide of more than 60 million people; six million were Jews. "Education, education," Wagner said. "That means you still have to chance of even meeting people who went through the hell." Wagner has spent many years confronting his past. He's organized dialogue groups with holocaust survivors to work towards repairing the relationship between Germans and Jews. "This means I have to listen, what do they have? Those who escaped from Nazi Germany, what do they have to tell me," Wagner said. "Resentment, prejudice -- including even racial issues -- this you can take in this case of the shoah, as a warning for the future." Wagner is the keynote speaker at UNCW's "Days of Remembrance," a series of lectures and presentations on the holocaust. For more information visit

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