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Holocaust Memorial Education Center

Shimon and Sara Birnbaum Jewish Community Center

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by Sandra Krawitz

My assignment for this project was to provide the educational content.

There is a tremendous amount of information about the Holocaust available in the public domain. There are books, movies, newspaper and magazine articles, museum articles, and so on. I derived content from many of these resources, but found two museums to be most helpful: the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC and Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

   After gathering information, the next step was to organize it into logical and coherent categories. The content provided is intended to answer the following questions:

    1. What was the history of the Holocaust?

    2. How were so many people of the Jewish faith robbed of their homes and all their belongings, herded into ghettos, transported to concentration camps and other killing centers, and ultimately murdered in mass numbers by the Nazis?

    3. How did some Jews attempt resistance and how did some non-Jews risk their own lives to save their Jewish friends and neighbors or even strangers from certain death?

    4. What did the United States do – or not do?

    5. What happened during liberation and what efforts were made to bring the heinous war crimes to justice?

    6. Finally, what became of the few survivors after six million of their Jewish brethren had been murdered?

Some of the information that I reviewed could not be included; it was just too graphic and disturbing for our purposes.  After all, we want to welcome visitors of all ages to our center.  We did not think it would be feasible, or even desirable, to restrict viewers of any age from reading our content and gaining an education about the Holocaust.  The information is by no means sanitized, however, it is just presented in a way so adults will take away a more comprehensive understanding of the material than young children.

In short, the content in our center offers the opportunity for a full and meaningful education about the Holocaust.   I hope that many people in our community will take the time to come into the center and have a positive learning experience. We are losing our survivors, and there is nothing we can do about that.  What we can do, however, is ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust are never lost.