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Ohio State fraternity hosts Holocaust remembrance walk


The Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi Eta chapter hosted a “Walk to Remember” for Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 16. Credit: Lindsay Oates / Lantern photographer.

83988. To many, this is just a number. But to Debbi Sugarman, a child of a Holocaust survivor, this number has great significance.

Her father survived two of the largest concentration camps, Auschwitz and Auschwitz II, also called Birkenau, where he was tattooed and given a uniform with an identifying number: 83988.

Sugarman told her father’s story to students and community members at the Alpha Epsilon Pi Eta chapter house Thursday. The Jewish fraternity hosted a “Walk to Remember” for Holocaust Remembrance Day, which began Wednesday evening and ended on Thursday.

The attendees, all wearing black, met at the fraternity house where Sugarman spoke, and continued their remembrance by walking to the front of Thompson Library where they held a vigil.

Several student organizations attended the event including the College Democrats, College Republicans, members of Alpha Epsilon Pi and the Armenian Student Association.

Tatevik Broutian, treasurer of the Armenian Student Association and a graduate student in biooncology, said it was important for her organization to be there to support those affected by the Holocaust, as they remember the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

“History can teach us lessons about what we shouldn’t do,” Broutian said. “ I think it’s important for people to know their history and to never forget.”

Jordan Hoffman, organizer of the event, member of Alpha Epsilon Pi, and a second-year in finance, said that just his chapter was a part of the event last year, but this year, the whole community was invited. He said several of his fraternity brothers’ grandparents were Holocaust survivors, including three of his own. 

According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website, six million Jewish people were killed in the Holocaust.

However, Jewish people were not the only population targeted. It is estimated that there were a total of 11 million people killed, including disabled people, Polish and Russian Slavic people, as well as political and ideological groups such as: communists, socialists, Jehovah’s Witnesses and homosexuals, according to the website.

Matthew Frankel, a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi and a fourth-year in environmental engineering, said he was most excited about seeing the physical presence of the community at the event. He said he wanted people to be “pissed off in a good way” about the Holocaust. 

“A lot of really terrible things happened, and we should be angry and upset that they did happen, and work towards bettering our own society to ensure that things like this don’t happen again,” Frankel said.

Correction: April 19, 2105

An earlier version of this article misstated the host fraternity’s name as “Alpha Epsilon Phi.” In fact, it is “Alpha Epsilon Pi.”


  1. Alpha Epsilon Pi is the Jewish fraternity, not Alpha Epsilon Phi, which is a sorority.

  2. How can you have a “Jewish fraternity”, especially at a public university?

  3. I went to the article to see which of the several holocaust of the 20th century they were commemorating. You’d think they would include all of them.

  4. The fraternity in Oklahoma was banned because a few members expressed in private a desire to exclude a group, Blacks, from admission, even though they likely weren’t serious, as evidenced by the fact that they had in fact admitted blacks.

    Here, this fraternity is so brazen they publicly (not privately) proclaim their racial/religious/ethnic exclusiveness .

    I guess the Oklahoma fraternity should’ve just declared themselves a “White Fraternity”, while at the same time claiming they’re open to people of all races (as this Jewish Fraternity likely would claim with respect to religion.)

    I’m just making a point; I don’t think the Oklahomans should’ve or would’ve wanted to that. But why is the same thing kosher at OSU?

  5. To the above commenters: You are something else. Who tries to change the subject from the remembrance of the victims of a genocide to a political debate about the constituency of a fraternity? I’m glad you got your feelings out. It shows people your true colors and agenda. All the while you hide behind your “anonymous” label. Remembering the Holocaust should not be a religious issue; it should be a humanity issue. The same way we will never forget all the other genocides to which Chris alluded.

    Anonymous 1 and Anonymous 2…keep up the good work guys!

  6. Fraternities like Alpha Epsilon Pi and Zeta Beta Tau were founded years ago by Jews who were excluded from other fraternities because they were Jews. While these organizations are traditionally Jewish no one is excluded from membership. When I was in college , the ZBT on my campus had members from many religions, races and ethnic groups.

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