Bearing Witness to Hope – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Bearing Witness to Hope

In the Spring of 2003, 2006, and 2008, various groups of Hobart and William Smith students joined Professor of Religious Studies Michael Dobkowski on trips to Germany and Poland that would forever alter their consciousnesses. “The March: Bearing Witness to Hope,” a week-long European excursion focusing on the events of the Holocaust, altered their lives.

“The March is one of the most incredible trips you could take,” said Kirby Rootes-Murdy ’08, who attended in 2006.

Dobkowski is looking for 15 students to join him this May for the 2010 March. The students chosen will spend the week of May 25 – June 2 learning of the dangers of ethnic and religious intolerance in addition to ways to promote positive relations among differing cultures.

To learn more about the trip, Dobkowski will lead informational meetings on Thursday, Nov. 12, Wednesday, Nov. 18, and Monday, Dec. 7 at 4:45 p.m. in Demarest 117B. 

While traveling, students will visit museums, monuments and memorials that commemorate the once thriving Jewish Cultural Center in Berlin, Warsaw, Krakow and Lublin that were destroyed during WW II. Students will walk through the death camps of Treblinka, Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau honoring the memory of the millions who died during the Holocaust. In addition, students will visit historic locations commemorating acts of resistance and rescue.

The March: Bearing Witness to Hope is unique in its inclusion of Holocaust survivors who offer firsthand accounts of the Holocaust throughout the trip. Dobkowski says that Holocaust survivors add a dimension that a purely academic setting cannot cover.

“I don’t know that words can capture the experience … it’s much more powerful,”

After the trip, students are expected to become active in programs that share the aims of the March: promoting tolerance among people with diverse backgrounds and encouraging cooperation among all people.

Dobkowski asks anyone interested to e-mail him at

The deadline for applications is Jan. 25. The application requires two letters of recommendation as well as a medical clearance form. Seniors are eligible for the trip.  Additional information on the March may be found at

The photo above was taken during the 2006 March.