Human Cost of WWII Eyed in Library Class in Wheeling

Jeff Rutherford

People’s University Series continues with WWII — Class 7, “On the Home Front and Abroad: The Human Cost,” instructed by Dr. Jeff Rutherford.

Six million Jews and more than five million non-Jews, including Gypsies, homosexuals, blacks and the physically and mentally disabled, were persecuted and murdered by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. But the human cost of “total war” didn’t stop there.

From the U.S. internment of Japanese, German and Italian citizens, to the Soviet forced labor gulags, to Japanese death marches and hell ships-the impact of the war on humankind is incomprehensible. Estimates of the final death toll, including military casualties, genocide, and war-related diseases and famine, range as high as 80 million people, as many as 50 million of whom were civilians.

Rutherford is assistant professor of history at Wheeling Jesuit University. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the State University of New York at Binghamton, his master’s at SUNY at Albany and his Ph.D. from University of Texas at Austin.

In keeping with the mission of public libraries as sanctuaries of free learning for all people, the Ohio County Public Library created The People’s University, a free program for adults who wish to continue their education in the liberal arts.

The People’s University features courses — taught by experts in each subject — that enable patrons to pursue their goal of lifelong learning in classic subjects such as history, music appreciation, philosophy and literature. Patrons may attend as many classes as they wish. There are no tests of other requirements, and all programs are free and open to the public.

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