According to the U.N. Food and Agricultural Union, Americans eat an average of 3,790 calories per day. During World War II, Jews living in the ghettos of Nazi Germany had between 620 and 1000 calories a day – equivalent to two 20 ounce cokes. These ghettos were not concentration camps where humans were exterminated, but places where Jews and other outcasts of German society were put to live and work away from the rest of the population.
Students who attended the final “Sandwiched In” lecture of the year heard about food in WWII ghettos from Nancy Kersell about food consumption in Jewish ghettos. The lecture series, sponsored by the Museum of Anthropology, gives students an informal way to expand their learning outside the classroom during the lunch hour. Those who attend are encouraged to bring lunch, hence the title “Sandwiched In.”
This month, the irony hit hard when lecture attendees ate lunch while hearing statistics about everyday starvation.
Nancy Kersell, an adjunct faculty member in the department of literature and language, is an avid historian of the Holocaust. She displayed her wealth of knowledge in the statistics she presented and her care in planning the lecture. Kersell refrained from the safe route of a PowerPoint presentation, deciding that showing pictures of people living in ghettos was disrespectful.
“One [picture] is of a woman carrying her dead infant