With the growing recognition, within world Jewry, of the need to memorialize those who were slaughtered in The Holocaust, Hillel began commemorating the events in 1966. In 1969 a student-created play, “Hineni,” was presented on campus and won the Abram L. Sachar award. These early commemorations established what has now become the annual tradition of observing “Holocaust Remembrance Week” on the Brandeis campus with a wide range of creative programming.
As American involvement in Vietnam intensified, Lt. Gen. Louis Hershey (ret.), Director of the Selective Service, announced impending plans to include male college students’ academic performance as a draft-eligibility criterion. Students with a record of poorer grades could expect to lose their education deferments. In an open memorandum to students and faculty at Brandeis and Harvard Universities, Professor John Seeley, chairman of the Brandeis Sociology department, attacked the proposed policy in terms that drew national attention.
The academic evaluation policy, Seeley wrote, made the college professor “a much more intimate part of the selection system. … We are perhaps as proximate as whoever in Nazi Germany ‘objectively’ determined the fraction of a man’s ancestry that was Jewish.” Faculty members hoping to use the regulation as a means of protecting some of their students from the draft “might well feel cast in a role analogous to the morally doubtful and agonizing one of the Judenrat in the period of ‘the final solution’ in Germany.”