Every few years, local Jewish congregation Havurah Shalom tries to organize a public exhibit to raise awareness of Holocaust remembrance, said Marian Kobrin, the congregation’s co-chair of outreach. Four years ago, they put on an exhibit about Anne Frank that was a huge success, she said. Nearly 900,000 guests visited the exhibit in over nine weeks. This year, they have organized an exhibit about the men and women who saved Jews during the Holocaust.
Thanks to grant money from the state, the City of Georgetown and several sponsors, the “Whoever Saves a Single Life… Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust” exhibit opened Sunday at the Georgetown Public Library.
The Holocaust ended nearly 75 years ago, but Kobrin said the lessons to be learned from the exhibit have applications in today’s political landscape.
“It’s especially important now because of the refugee crisis in the world,” Kobrin said. “I think this is a timely exhibit for that purpose. There are people who are refugees who are desperate (now). These people risked their lives to help people (then).”
For the exhibit, Havurah Shalom partnered with Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, a group that provides financial support to aged and needy non-Jews who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. Stanlee Stahl, the JFR executive vice president who spoke at the exhibit opening, said the group sent $1.1 million to rescuers living in 20 countries worldwide.
JFR also runs a national education program and lends out the traveling exhibit that is currently at the Georgetown Public Library. The exhibit focuses on non-Jews who helped Jews escape Nazi persecution during the Holocaust, Stahl said. Some of the rescuers featured in the exhibit include diplomats, members of the German military, Christian and Muslim religious leaders and everyday people.
“The exhibit tells the stories of these very special men and women who had both the courage to care and the courage to act,” Stahl said. “Many people care—you look at pictures from Syria, of the little boy washed up on the beach in Turkey—but we have to do more than care. They did both. They cared, but they did something.”
The exhibit will be available to go through daily at the Georgetown Public Library from March 19 to April 18. It can be self-led, but Kobrin said groups may contact Congregation Havurah Shalom to have a trained member walk them through the exhibit.