Walk-through exhibit remembers Holocaust

Concentration camp survivor Faigie Libman speaks tomorrow night as part of Holocaust Education Week

Queen’s Hillel members Madyln Axelrod and Samantha Dunnigan organized this year’s Holocaust Education Week.
Queen’s Hillel members Madyln Axelrod and Samantha Dunnigan organized this year’s Holocaust Education Week.
Photo: 
Axelrod says this year’s exhibit focuses on the individual experiences of Holocaust victims.
Axelrod says this year’s exhibit focuses on the individual experiences of Holocaust victims.
Photo: 

Queen’s Hillel wants to make the political more personal for this year’s Holocaust Education Week.

“In the past we’ve stressed how terrible it was by going over statistics, but it’s much easier to relate to and identify with one person,” Queen’s Hillel co-president Madlyn Axelrod, ArtSci ’11, said.

Each year, the group creates a walk-through exhibit in the JDUC with photos and facts about the Holocaust and other genocides of the 20th century.

There are also guest speakers and other events during the week, which runs Nov. 2 to 5.

Axelrod said this year’s exhibit focuses on people’s personal experiences living under the Nazi regime.

The walk-through display will show the ID cards of Holocaust victims, as well as chronicles of families that survived and those that didn’t.

Axelrod said she hopes by personalizing the display and speakers, students will take a different approach to learning about the Holocaust.

“Our goal is that students will get some connection and take that responsibility of educating others onto themselves,” she said. “If we move on and forget about it, we’ll allow history to repeat itself.”

Queen’s Hillel has invited two Holocaust survivors, Faigie Libman and Robert Melson, to share their stories, she said.

Libman, a 75-year-old Lithuanian Jew, survived ghettos, labour camps and concentration camps during the 1940s. Born in the Lithuanian capital of Kaunas, Libman lived in the Kaunas ghetto until the age of 10, when she travelled in a cattle car to Germany's Stutthof concentration camp in Poland.

She said she’ll share disturbing memories that have stuck with her when she speaks tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Etherington Hall auditorium.

“When I was in my first labour camp, one day my mother said she had permission to take me to work, but when we got back we found out that the old people and all the children were taken to Auschwitz and killed,” she said. “I was the only one left.” Libman said she speaks at different events every year because she wants people to be inspired to end hatred.

“I believe in the goodness of people,” she said. “When I speak from school to school, I’m always asked, ‘Do you hate?’ and I say no, because if your heart is filled with hate, you don’t have time for love.

“It’s very important for them to know what can happen when hatred is permeated,” she said. “That’s why I go from place to place. ... My aim is to educate what hatred is—what happened—when hatred is replaced by love.”

For a full schedule of events, please see queenshillel.com.

Clarification

The Stutthof concentration camp was created and run by Nazi Germany during World War Two. It was located on occupied Polish territory.

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