Co-Lin receives Brock’s book collection

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Father John Ohleyer Brock will be remembered for many things, being a devout Catholic and delivering insightful homilies, being an avid sports fan of Cathedral and other local school teams, being a voracious reader and lover of books, and now he will be memorialized with a special book collection at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

Father Brock collected books on a myriad of subjects; the titles donated to Co-Lin from this collection deal with the Holocaust and war.

Father Brock once said, “I’ve visited all the major Holocaust sites in Europe, but it still fascinates me. The morality questions there are fantastic.”

So he studied and researched the topic for years and the patrons of the Willie Mae Dunn Library are the lucky recipients of his well thumbed texts. The collection consists of more than 50 works covering primarily the Holocaust but, also World War II and the Vietnam War.

“Can it happen again? Chronicles of the Holocaust,” “Priestblock 25487,” “Atrocities at Camp Mauthausen: A visual documentation of the Holocaust,” “The Boys: The story of 732 young concentration camp survivors” and “The Origins of the final solution” are some of the haunting titles in this collection.

It includes books by historians as well as death camp survivors. There are also several works of fiction set during the Holocaust including books by Primo Levy, an Italian Jewish chemist who was a survivor of Auschwitz.

Father Brock never fully understood how the Holocaust could have occurred but, in visiting many of the death camp sites, he tried to fathom the tragedy. He traveled to many of these places during his seminary years and after as he attended American College in Rome.

Later, he started taking groups of eager tourists from the Miss-Lou to Rome. These excursions span almost 10 years. Since part of his seminary learning experience was to learn the city, he did just that — much to the benefit of his tour groups.

His intellectual curiosity, love of books and travel and his concern for humanity were all aspects of his lifelong interest in the Holocaust.

The Father John Ohleyer Brock Memorial Collection (March 25, 1937-July 8, 2010) will go on display and be open to the college community and the public on March 1.

I would like to invite the Miss-Lou community to come in to peruse the collection and check out an item or two if you find it interesting.

In April, the collection will move to its permanent location in the history section of the library. The collection will be completed with his picture and some memorabilia from his travels.

Nancy McLemore is director of the Willie Mae Dunn Library at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Natchez.