By Ashton Brown
Elizabeth Andrasi, a third-year master of divinity student at George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University, has been selected by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics to participate in a two-week program for future clergy taking place this summer in New York, Germany and Poland.
FASPE is designed to engage graduate students across five different fields (business, journalism, law, medicine and religion) to explore relationships between the history of the Holocaust and contemporary ethics in their own discipline, according to a press release from the organization.
Students will learn through location, visiting Germany and Poland — specifically, Auschwitz — where they will study the past and consider how to apply the lessons of history to the ethical challenges they may face in their future professions.
“I expect to be challenged,” Andrasi said. “I hope I can allow myself to be present to the reality of evil in the world as we talk about the ethical issues that face us today. I expect lots of hard conversations. I expect it to be emotional. I expect to be changed.”
Many internationally respected professionals in pre-World War II Germany played major roles in the crimes of Nazi Germany. FASPE will examine what role professionals in business, journalism, law, medicine and the clergy played in the rise of Nazi Germany and discuss the moral codes governing these professions.
“I’ve always been interested in the era of the Holocaust,” Andrasi said. “There was just so much evil and so many people took part. This seemed like an excellent opportunity to engage the ethical issues of this era deeply in conversation with a diversity of perspectives.”
During the 12-day program, fellows will participate in seminars run by FASPE faculty and attend lectures with a wide range of guest speakers. The program will integrate historical, cultural, philosophical and literary resources, survivor testimony and workshops in Berlin, Auschwitz and Krakow.
Andrasi was one of 12 seminary and divinity school students chosen by FASPE with 62 total fellows chosen from different disciplines. Fellows were selected through a competitive process that drew applicants from around the world. As part of the program, FASPE will cover all expenses, including travel, food and lodging.
“When I heard I was accepted, I was humbled, and I carry it with great responsibility,” Andrasi said. “I believe God is going to do a lot with this part of my life and use me for his purposes. I don’t carry that flippantly.”
Andrasi received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Texas A&M University in 2011. She is originally from Austin, Texas. After graduation, Andrasi plans to become a Baptist pastor and is involved with University Baptist Church in Waco, Texas.
“My hope is that the way I live life will change from this experience,” Andrasi said. “I hope in the future I will be able to continue these conversations about how we as the church respond or fail to respond to the ethical issues that face us.”