April 15: Fran Berg and a Journey to Understanding Inhumanity
By THGC Admin
"Man’s inhumanity toward others is unexplainable. Why do we choose to inflict so much pain on each other?" Even today, Commissioner Berg is still puzzled by man’s cruel and merciless nature.
Commissioner Fran Berg was born in San Antonio at Brooks Air Force Base, but moved to Dallas in 1963 and resided there until college, when she attended Tulane University. She currently lives in Dallas, Texas and is actively involved in speaking engagements for public schools to help raise awareness about Holocaust related subjects. In her free time, she enjoys traveling to foreign countries and taking photos. In fact, did you know that Commissioner Berg had the opportunity to go to Cambodia with THGC Commissioner Siv, who shared his story of hardship and escape from the Cambodian Genocide? This journey allowed her to witness the cruel and inhuman nature of humankind.
Commissioners Berg and Siv in Cambodia
Commissioner Berg’s wrestling with this idea is what drives her passion for Holocaust and genocide study. As a result, she went to college to pursue a degree in social services while taking some of the first Holocaust courses offered in any U.S. college. But academic learning alone has proved insufficient, and Commissioner Berg constantly seeks to volunteer her time and skills with Holocaust museums and serves as a court appointed child advocate with Dallas CASA.
Commissioner Berg also plays a pivotal role within the commission. She is part of the Resources Committee, through which she helped commission the Texan Liberators Project that aims to record the stories of Holocaust liberators in partnership with Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History. As the number of WWII veterans and survivors dwindle, it has become increasingly important to record their experiences to ensure the past will not be forgotten.
Commissioner Berg’s biggest goal for the THGC, however, is for the agency to become a resource of education and learning for individuals trying to seek answers about atrocities being committed in our world. She hopes the website will guide them in the right direction and act as a point of outreach for all Texans. The Commission is moving toward that goal as those who are aware of our resources share them with others.
Commissioner Berg believes in the quote, "Thousands of candles can be lit
from a single candle," and lives life and serves the public accordingly.
Raising awareness among children and youth is also an important goal. Texas students have a thirst for knowledge, and Commissioner Berg has discovered that “we can open their eyes to the greater possibilities of how they can use their own voices after investigating the histories of genocides to make this a better world in which THEY change the outcome.”
The opportunity to empower children by providing them with information about the past and encouraging understanding so that they can grow up to become better citizens is part of what drives Commissioner Berg in service on the Commission. After all, education is perhaps the most powerful tool to incite change and promote hope for a better tomorrow.Tags: fran berg thgc texas holocaust and genocide commission holocaust genocide