Elon student awarded Holocaust Studies scholarship

Kelly Swaim ’17, recipient of the Miriam and Abe Brenner Holocaust Education Scholarship, traveled to Europe during Winter Term 2015 as part of Elon’s "Holocaust Journey" study abroad course.

Elon University sophomore Kelly Swaim
Elon University sophomore Kelly Swaim[/caption]Elon sophomore Kelly Swaim was awarded the Miriam and Abe Brenner Holocaust Education Scholarship, a scholarship sponsored by the Greensboro Jewish Federation and administered by the Jewish Foundation of Greensboro, in support of her participation in the university’s Winter Term 2015 “Holocaust Journey” study abroad course.

Led by Professor Richard Lee and Ginny Vellani, Elon’s coordinator of Jewish Student Life, the class learns about the Holocaust through visits to concentration/extermination camps, ghettos, Jewish museums and archives, synagogues and Jewish cemeteries, as well through discussions with Holocaust scholars and survivors.

“The Miriam and Abe Brenner Holocaust Education scholarship is a great aid for students who want to engage in Holocaust education in an interactive way,” said Swaim, a history with teacher licensure major from Winston-Salem, N.C. “Students can use what they learn during the course to help them later on. For instance, I plan on becoming a teacher and I will use what I learn to help me be better able to teach the Holocaust.”

The Holocaust Journey course originates in Amsterdam and travels to locations including Berlin, Warsaw, Krakow, Prague and Nuremberg. It is located within Elon’s English department and is associated with Elon’s programs in German Studies and Jewish Studies.

“Students in this course engage in not only the background and history of the Holocaust, but are able to confront the realities of how people and nations remember,” Vellani said. “The Brenner family has created a wonderful opportunity for Kelly and for future Elon students with this scholarship.”

The Miriam and Abe Brenner Holocaust Education Scholarship was established by the Brenner family to foster greater understanding of the Jewish experience and especially of the Holocaust.

The late Abraham “Abe” Brenner was a lifelong resident of Winston-Salem. He and his brothers established an iron and metal company that evolved into a conglomerate known as the Brenner Companies. The brothers also established The Brenner Foundation, which supports Brenner Children’s Hospital, an affiliate of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.

Miriam Prystowsky Brenner, who resides in Winston-Salem, is active with Temple Emanuel as well as the Jewish Federations of North America campaign for Israel.

The Brenner scholarship is made possible through a partnership between Elon University and the Greensboro Jewish Federation. The Greensboro Jewish Federation, established in 1940, is one of the leading federations in North America.

“The Greensboro Jewish Federation with the assistance of the Miriam and Abe Brenner Holocaust Education Fund (held at the Jewish Foundation of Greensboro) is delighted to partner with Elon University in providing scholarship assistance for the Holocaust Journey course,” said Marilyn Chandler, executive director of the Greensboro Jewish Federation. “Through this funding, it is our hope that qualifying students will gain insights into the history of this time period and will use this knowledge in building their future careers.”

Elon faculty said they were grateful for the Brenner family’s gift and for the Greensboro Jewish Federation’s support of Elon students.

“It has been wonderful to work with the Greensboro Jewish Federation and to support students interested in this transformative study-abroad course,” said Geoffrey Claussen, Elon’s Lori and Eric Sklut Emerging Scholar in Jewish Studies and Jewish Studies program coordinator, who helped to establish Elon’s partnership with the Greensboro Federation.