Current Student to Participate in Fellowship at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics

April 12, 2013
FASPE Press Release

Andrew Conley-Holcom joins groundbreaking program for seminarians & divinity students. Andrew Conley-Holcom, a Master of Divinity student at the Pacific School of Religion, is one of the 14 seminarians and divinity students chosen by FASPE (Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics) to participate in a two-week program in New York, Germany, and Poland in June 2013.  This trip is one of four FASPE programs, each of which works with 14-15 students, that use the history of the Holocaust as a way to engage students in an intensive study of contemporary ethics in their field.

FASPE fellowships examine the roles played by professionals in four specific fields (journalism, law, clergy, and medicine) in Nazi Germany and underscore that moral codes governing these key professions can break down or be distorted with devastating consequences.  By educating students about the causes of the Holocaust and promoting their awareness of related contemporary issues, FASPE seeks to prepare these Fellows to address various ethical issues facing their professions in the present day.

The 2013 program will be led by Kevin Spicer, C.S.C., James J. Kenneally Distinguished Professor of History at Stonehill College; LeRoy Walters, Joseph. P. Kennedy, Sr. Professor of Christian Ethics at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University; and Rabbi Nancy Wiener, Clinical Director of the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Mr. Conley-Holcom, now completing his second year of a Master of Divinity program, is eager to learn more about how individuals can “move from passive bystander in the face of injustice, to intentional ally.” He plans to explore “the subtle violence that can easily be perpetuated by people who are unaware of their advantaged positions in society. The truly insidious aspect of social privilege is that otherwise good-meaning people can participate in systems of prejudice, injustice and evil without recognizing it.”

Mr. Conley-Holcom and the other FASPE Seminary Fellows will begin orientation at the Museum of Jewish Heritage--A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City on June 16.  They will be traveling with a similar group of FASPE Medical Fellows.  Orientation will include visiting the Museum’s exhibits, meeting with Holocaust survivors, and working with FASPE staff and guest scholars. The first leg of the European portion will be in Poland, where Fellows will travel to Oświęcim, Poland, the town the Germans called Auschwitz, where they will tour Auschwitz-Birkenau and work with the distinguished educational staff at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.  Fellows will also travel to Krakow, where they will explore the city’s rich Jewish, Catholic, and Polish history.  The final leg of the trip will be held in Berlin where they will have the opportunity to study the city’s historical and cultural sites.  Educational workshops will take place at The Topography of Terror and the House of the Wannsee Conference, the site where representatives of State and Nazi Party agencies convened in 1942 to discuss and coordinate plans for the “Final Solution.”  

FASPE’s innovative programs for students in these four disciplines address contemporary ethical issues through a unique historical context.  FASPE is predicated upon the power of place, and in particular the first-hand experience of visiting Auschwitz and traveling through Germany and Poland where Fellows study the past and consider how to apply the lessons of history as they confront the ethical challenges of their profession.

FASPE works under the auspices of the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust and in cooperation with the Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz, Berlin and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Oświęcim, Poland.  For more information about topics the students will study and to view a video about FASPE, visit

Lead support for FASPE is provided by C. David Goldman, Frederick and Margaret Marino, and the Eder Family Foundation. FASPE is also supported by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and other generous donors. 

About the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
The Museum’s exhibitions educate people of all ages and backgrounds about the rich tapestry of Jewish life over the past century—before, during, and after the Holocaust.  Current special exhibitions include Hava Nagila: A Song for the People, on view through Summer 2013. It is also home to the award-winning Keeping History Center, an interactive visitor experience, and Andy Goldsworthy’s memorial Garden of Stones. The Museum offers visitors a vibrant public program schedule in its Edmond J. Safra Hall and receives general operating support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.