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On April 1, Join Us for the Kick-off of Big D Reads With 2016 Featured Title “The Diary of A Young Girl”

big_d_reads_anne_frank_posterJoin us at the Museum this Friday for the kickoff of Big D Reads – a read-in event from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at which community leaders will read selected passages from this year’s featured title, Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl.

A community service project throughout the month of April, Big D Reads seeks to engage the Dallas community in a city-wide reading experience as well as special events such as educational discussions and read-ins that tie into Anne Frank’s inspirational story.

Friday’s Read-In event takes place at the Museum in the “Anne Frank: A History for Today” exhibit area.

In order to engage readers of all ages in Big D Reads, companion books have also been selected, among them Dr. Suess’ Sneetches; Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars, and Eric Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts. These works are all available for checkout at the Dallas Public Library.

The Dallas Public Library and the Friends of the Dallas Public Library are organizing this year’s Big D Reads event in partnership with the Dallas Independent School District and the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance.

For more information, visit BigDReads.org

 

 

Hope for Humanity: Human Rights Initiative of North Texas

hrilogoHuman rights is the reason America was created, say Betsy Healy and Bill Holston of the Human Rights Initiative (HRI) of North Texas.

The right to asylum—under which another sovereign authority, such as the United States, may protect a person persecuted by their country—is one of the most important and urgent of rights. The right belongs to all people under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by world governments in 1948 in response to the Holocaust.

“International human rights is an obligation we have as Americans,’’ said Healy, an attorney who co-founded HRI in 1999 and served as its first Executive Director. HRI provides legal and support services to legal immigrants and those already in the U.S., seeking refugee status. Many of HRI’s clients have fled religious, racial, or political persecution. In addition, HRI offers assistance to victims of human trafficking, domestic abuse and neglect through their Women and Children’s Program.

Healy and Holston, also an attorney, were featured speakers at the Museum’s 2016 inaugural Upstander Speaker Series event on March 10 at the Communities Foundation of Texas, “Human Rights Initiative of North Texas: A Conversation.”

Joining them on the panel were Kavita Khandekar Chopra, Marketing & Development Director for HRI, and Kane Cortez, an HRI volunteer. Dr. Sara Abosch, Senior Director of Education at the Museum, moderated the panel.

Gaining asylum status for an immigrant is painstaking, arduous and time-consuming legal work, says Holston. Asylum-seekers must not only undergo extensive interviews to prove their claims of human right abuses under very specific criteria to a U.S. immigration investigator, but they must also prove such claims in a separate court action before a U.S. immigration court judge who ultimately decides whether to grant asylum to the immigrant.

Relying on a large and loyal cadre of local volunteer attorneys to represent about 550 asylum-seeking clients, HRI wins about 85 percent of its cases.

“We simply could not achieve the success we have achieved for our clients without our volunteer attorneys,” Holston said. “This is very difficult work involving some of life’s worst experiences.”

Holston is blunt in his assessment of the U.S. immigration system. “We don’t have a functioning immigration system,” he said. “In this country, we pay for what we value, and we don’t value a humane immigration system that promptly processes claims for asylum in a timely manner. Consequently, too many asylum seekers are living their lives on the sidelines awaiting action from a broken system.”

The true hope in providing legal work for asylum seekers, Healy said, is in the spirit of clients whose lives are sources of inspiration to all who work with them. “They are people whose lives and values embody all the characteristics that make us Americans,” she said. “We are beyond fortunate to be able to work with them.”

Special thanks to the Communities Foundation of Texas for hosting the event.

Make plans now to join us on April 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Museum to hear Simon Grownowski, Holocaust and 20th Deportation Train Survivor, who will speak about his childhood during the Holocaust, including his escape from the 20th deportation train as it left Kazerne Dossin, a Belgian deportation camp, for Auschwitz, as well as his experience as a hidden child for the remainder of the war.

Then, on May 14, join us at 11 a.m. for “Anne Frank at the Dallas Arboretum,” a hands-on, family-friendly activity exploring the theme of nature in Anne Franks The Diary of a Young Girl. The Dallas Arboretum is located at 8525 Garland Rd, Dallas, TX 75218.

And, if you haven’t yet had a chance, be sure to visit the current special exhibit, Anne Frank: A History for Today. For more information on Museum activities, visit our website.

–Chris Kelley, for the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education & Tolerance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join us for Spring Break at the Dallas Holocaust Museum

annefrankeventbritegraphicExplore and learn with family-friendly activities throughout Spring Break in conjunction with our latest special exhibit, “Anne Frank: A History for Today.”

Each program features readings from The Diary of a Young Girl, followed by a short discussion and learning activity. The Spring Break programs will be held Mondays through Thursdays, March 7 through 24 at 1:30 p.m. Be sure to RSVP.

On March 12, we are pleased to hold our inaugural Girl Scouts Day at the Museum, which will focus on the life of Anne Frank. Each activity correlates with a different age group and Girl Scout badge. Reservation required.

9:30 a.m.   – 11:00 a.m. Scribe Badge (Juniors)

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Finding Common Ground Badge (Cadettes)

11:30 a.m. –  1:00 p.m. Truth Seeker Badge (Seniors)

Be sure to join us on March 18 and 19 for the theater performances, “Conversations with Anne.“

In collaboration with the Anne Frank Center USA, the Museum will present four performances of Conversations with Anne, a 40-minute performance with an actor in the role of the young writer, followed by a Q&A session where children can ask “Anne” questions about her life before the war and in hiding. Showtimes are each day at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tickets available at Eventbrite.

“Anne Frank: A History for Today” was developed by the Anne Frank House and is sponsored in North America by the Anne Frank Center USA. Exhibit sponsors of at the Dallas Holocaust Museum are Clampitt Paper, Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District, Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and The Catholic Foundation.

-Chris Kelley for The Dallas Holocaust Museum

Special Guest Post: Support of the Dallas Holocaust Museum Showcases Values

JoleneRischBy Jolene Risch

As a society, we battle prejudice and discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, age, and religion on a daily basis. We are reminded of our humanity through social causes, the arts, museums, historical points of interest, and each other. To thrive as a business community, it is incumbent upon us to recognize there is much work to be done in the mission to empower all people.

One way that businesses can foster acceptance, moral and ethical responsibility, and goodwill is to support causes that have, at their foundation, the goal of equality and acceptance of all people. One such organization that demonstrates these qualities is the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance. If you consider the fact that there are 939 active hate groups in the United States, and also state-sponsored genocide in Syria, Iraq, North Korea, and South Central Africa, you can see the extreme need for education to combat intolerance. As such, I strongly encourage businesses to join the Holocaust Museum as a demonstration of their company’s advocacy for inclusion, tolerance, and diversity.

I have the distinct honor of being involved with the Dallas Holocaust Museum and recently participated in Hope for Humanity Dinner, a fundraiser designed to raise capital for general operating funds to help with our day-to-day operations.  The Mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings, was honored this past year at the dinner, and he spoke about the importance for the City of Dallas to support the construction of a new building to house the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance.  The additional space will be dedicated to exhibits showcasing how we can leverage the knowledge and lessons from the atrocities of the Holocaust to impact civil rights, bullying, bigotry, and discrimination. I believe this connection between understanding history and applying it to modern day issues is key to making our business community thrive.

Support Showcases Values

The Dallas Holocaust Museum was founded in 1984 in the basement of the Jewish Community Center of Dallas. It moved to the West End in 2005, however, with 72,500 visitors each year, the demand has outgrown the limited space, and it can’t accommodate larger, more compelling exhibits or adequately store archives. The new museum will be able to accommodate 200,000 visitors annually, and will include, among other things, a special exhibit space for traveling exhibits, library and archives, and a state-of-the-art 250-person theater.

Because I believe in the mission of the museum, I want my company to be actively involved in its evolution. How does your company support the causes you believe in? As an executive recruiter, I can tell you that your answer to this question is critical to hiring and retention. In the article, “The Importance of Core Company Values in Hiring and Retention,” the author explains that defining company values and hiring people who demonstrate similar beliefs will not only lead to increased engagement, but it will also improve your company culture and morale.

Starting with the executive team, be sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to company values. Define those values and share them with every employee. Use those values when making hiring choices. The values should be embedded in the company culture, and demonstrated through activities, donations, and other means of support. Participate in causes that are close to the heart, and in the process, you’ll help to strengthen the company—and the community at large.

Jolene Risch is Principal of Risch Results, one of Dallas’ top executive search firms for executive management, manufacturing, and financial services talent. Learn more about how Risch Results can help with your talent needs at RischResults.com or 972.839.9447.

In Sadness and Hope, We Will Never Forget: International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2016

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Survivor Rosa Blum and Museum President Mary Pat Higgins

IHRD2

Rabbi Zell lights one of the memorial candles in recognition of International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today, the world comes together to honor the millions of Jewish and non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

Designated by the United Nations General Assembly to coincide with the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Jan. 27) sets aside one day a year for member states of the UN to commemorate the lives lost at the hands of the Nazis and to emphasize the need to develop educational programs that might help prevent future genocides.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon reaffirmed the priorities of having a day of remembrance during the second annual observance, stating, “The International Day in memory of the victims of the Holocaust is thus a day on which we must reassert our commitment to human rights. We must also go beyond remembrance, and make sure that new generations know this history. We must apply the lessons of the Holocaust to today’s world. And we must do our utmost so that all peoples may enjoy the protection and rights for which the United Nations stands.”

As a component of the Dallas Holocaust Museum’s own mission to teach the history of the Holocaust and advance human rights, the DHM held its own event this past Sunday, January 24, in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Mary Pat Higgins, President and CEO of the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, opened the event with background on the UN’s intentions behind establishing a day of remembrance and what responsibilities the Museum must take upon itself in order to properly honor the spirit of the day.

“At the Museum, we are grateful for every opportunity we have to teach the history of the Holocaust and advance human rights,” said Higgins. “Especially on days like today, as we honor and remember those who lost their lives to senseless prejudice and blind hatred, we recognize how important this mission is. We can only hope, as the United Nations Declaration states, that the Holocaust ‘will forever be a warning to all people of the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism, and prejudice.’”

Remarks by Rabbi Shawn Zell of Tiferet Israel and Rev. Dr. Andy Stoker of First United Methodist Church in Dallas reinforced the need for educational programs and institutions like the Museum to aid in the fight against prejudice, hatred, and indifference.

“Today is another opportunity to heal our world,” said Dr. Stoker.

Rabbi Zell spoke movingly about a beloved elementary school teacher of blessed memory who taught at the Jewish Day School he attended, a man who was a Holocaust Survivor who helped reunite hundreds of Jewish children hidden in Catholic orphanages during WW II. “We (students) were weaned on Survivors,” Rabbi Zell said. “He was my favorite teacher.”

Local survivors in attendance included Rosa Blum, Tova Feldman, Irma Freudenreich, Kurt Plaut, Jack Repp, Max Spindler, Heinz Wallach, and Rosian Zerner.

-Chris Kelley, for the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance

From the Safety of the Secret Annex, Anne Frank Reveals Life-Changing Lessons for All of Us Today

anne_frankBefore the world met the bright, optimistic girl named Anne Frank, she and her family lived in complete secrecy behind a bookcase for two years, hiding from Nazi soldiers and sympathizers.

In the red and white checkered journal given to her by her father for her 13th birthday, Anne wrote down her experiences, insights, and dreams in a voice distinctly her own. “I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people,” she proclaims, “I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death!”

Now open as a special exhibit, “Anne Frank: A History for Today” takes Dallas Holocaust Museum visitors beyond the pages of her diary by providing a broad perspective on the Holocaust, human rights, the Nazis, and the Frank family’s experiences in hiding. The exhibit introduces new contextual information and insight into the conditions and timeframe in which Anne Frank and her family lived.

At the exhibit opening on Jan. 14, two educators shared their insights into the life of Anne Frank and her diary. Hilary Stipelman, Director of Outreach and Exhibitions for the Anne Frank Center USA, spoke movingly of the universal lessons Anne’s diary shares with the world—courage, optimism, hope and difference-making, to name but a few.

“She left us one of the first written accounts by a family suffering under Nazi tyranny,” Ms. Stipelman said.

Dr. Charlotte Decoster, Assistant Director of Education for the Museum, spoke of a personal connection she felt to Anne Frank while growing up in her home country of Belgium. “Anne is one of the reasons I can speak about hope when it comes to the Holocaust,” she said. “Anne is a symbol for me of the lessons all of us need to learn from Holocaust.”

Although Anne and most of her family members did not survive the Holocaust, her wish to go on living, to affect people’s lives even after death, was granted.

Her diary, discovered by her father after the war, was published in the original Dutch in 1947 and translated into English in 1952, soon becoming one of the most widely read and beloved stories of all time. One of the most widely-read books in the world,  “The Diary of a Young Girl” has sold 40 million copies in 70 different languages in the last 69 years.

Reading the diary entries can be gut-wrenching, especially knowing what would become of the young girl. But the endless stream of lessons for humanity and the abounding hope that flows from the pages of her diary continue to inspire readers across the globe.

“It’s really a wonder,” she writes, “that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

In the exhibit, selected diary entries are presented alongside eleven free-standing panels that intertwine the major events of the Holocaust with pivotal moments in Anne Frank’s life.

The exhibit also features a replica of the bookcase that hid the entrance to the secret annex in which Anne and her family lived for two years in hiding. Guests can enter the room via the bookcase door to read about her legacy and watch a short film on her life.

While Anne’s diary tells the story of a young Jewish girl’s life in hiding, it does not discuss details of the Holocaust, the Frank family’s decision to go into hiding, or exactly what happened to them after they were betrayed and deported in August 1944. The exhibit fills in these blanks, providing information on Anne Frank’s story before and after her family’s time in the annex.

Like the diary itself, this special exhibit speaks to the universal lessons that the story of Anne Frank and the Holocaust can offer us today. Guests will leave the Museum with a better understanding of the value of human life, the need to protect life, and the importance of standing up for society’s most vulnerable.

By putting a name and a face to the overwhelming scope of destruction, the story of Anne Frank personalizes our relationship to the events of the Holocaust and allows us to look at evil through a new lens, one brimming with hope, courage, and resolve.

Few had the level of resolve as  Anne Frank. “It seems to me,” she writes, “that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year-old school girl. Oh well, it doesn’t matter. I feel like writing.”

“Anne Frank: A History for Today” is open during regular Museum hours until May 31.

Be sure to join us for these additional events related to the exhibit (learn more at DallasHolocaustMuseum.org).

Spring Break Events: March 7 through 25; Explore and learn with family-friendly activities throughout Spring Break.

Theater Performances: March 18 & 19, 2016 at Museum; Conversations with Anne; Two live performances each day at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Exhibit Sponsors: Clampitt Paper, Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District, Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, The Catholic Foundation.

“Anne Frank: A History for Today” was developed by the Anne Frank House and is sponsored in North America by the Anne Frank Center USA.

-Chris Kelley, for the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance

 

A Global Upstander, Ret’d UN Gen. Roméo Dallaire Defied Orders to Retreat and Stood Up to Protect the Vulnerable During Rwandan Genocide

Roméo-DallaireIn April of 1994, retired United Nations Gen. Roméo Dallaire faced a life-and-death choice no human being should be required to make.

He could follow the orders of his UN bosses and lead his 400-plus UN peacekeeping troops in retreat to safety from a Rwandan village where they were likely to come under attack, or he and his troops could stay to protect area villagers whom they were sent to safeguard in the first place – villagers who would otherwise become victims of a genocide underway in Rwanda.

For him, Dallaire said, the choice was easy: He chose to remain and protect the villagers.

A retired Canadian Senator and celebrated humanitarian, the former Lieutenant-General, the Honorable Roméo Dallaire (Ret’d), was the final speaker in the Museum’s Upstander Speaker series before a crowd of 200 at the Mack Ballroom on the SMU campus on Oct. 15.

In her opening remarks, Museum President and CEO Mary Pat Higgins noted that Gen. Dallaire had pleaded with the UN to intervene in Rwanda as the genocide looked imminent, but that his request for intervention was denied. More than 800,000 Rwandans died in fewer than 100 days of the genocide in the spring of 1994.

In fulfilling the ethical obligation to protect those who sought refuge with the UN forces, the actions of Gen. Dallaire and a small contingent of Ghanaian soldiers and military observers, are credited with saving the lives of 32,000 people.

Gen. Dallaire’s courage and leadership during this mission earned him the Meritorious Service Cross, the United States Legion of Merit, and the Aegis Award on Genocide Prevention.

However, as he openly and candidly discusses, the experience left a scar on his life. Dallaire suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder and in 2000, attempted suicide. He is now an outspoken supporter of raising awareness for veterans’ mental health.

“How does one escape the debilitating despair that must follow having your calls for help ignored and being a witness to an atrocity of epic proportions that could have been prevented?” Higgins asked. “It’s beyond me, but somehow Roméo Dallaire has found the strength to advocate for those without a voice.”

Today, Gen. Dallaire advocates ending the use of thousands of child soldiers worldwide as war combatants through his organization, The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative.

“Children are a new weapon in this era into which we have entered,” Dallaire said. “This is most troubling weapon system in the world. Children are being used to sustain war. And now we’re seeing them recruited younger and younger. This is quite extraordinary because in the past we would protect children from war. These children, if they survive, become adults, and they’ve grown up in the atmosphere of war, and it is very difficult to break that cycle.”

But through research, training and advocacy, Dallaire said he hopes to break the cycle by turning children into a liability for those who would use them in war rather than an “asset to be sustain conflict.”

Mary Pat Higgins said of Dallaire’s work, “In his writings and public speeches he (Dallaire) often asks, ‘Are all humans human? Or are some more human than others?’ General Dallaire’s challenge to society is for this century to become the Century of Humanity, when we as human beings rise above race, creed, color, religion, and national self interest and put the good of humanity above the good of our own tribe. For the sake of the children and our future. This is what it means to be an Upstander.”

The presenting sponsor for the Upstander Speaker Series is Real Time Resolutions. Trea and Richard Yip, the Harold Simmons Foundation, and The Dallas Morning News sponsored the Gen. Dallaire presentation.

Be sure to make plans to experience the Museum’s current Special Exhibit through the end of the year, “Holocaust by Bullets,” which tells the story of the mass killings of Jews, the murder of Roma and the disabled—and the quest to uncover the truth of the atrocities by he French organization Yahad-In-Unum.

YIU is led by Father Patrick Desbois, a French Catholic priest whose grandfather was a French soldier deported to the Nazi prison camp Rava-Ruska, located in a Ukrainian town that borders Poland. Fr. Desbois was one of the Museum’s 2012 Hope for Humanity honorees and was recently featured on CBS’ 60 Minutes.

–Chris Kelley for the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Young Investigator, “Holocaust By Bullets” is a Never-Ending Search for Truth, Dignity

AlexisFor Alexis Kosarevsky, the newly-hired translator for the French organization Yahad-In-Unum and a native of Ukraine, the moment in 2008 was transformative.

Yahad-In-Unum was founded in Paris in 2004 by leaders in the French Catholic and Jewish communities to locate, map, cover and memorialize the sites of mass graves of Jewish victims of the Nazi mobile killing units during World War II operating in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Poland and Moldavia.

YIU is led by Father Patrick Desbois, a French Catholic priest whose grandfather was a French soldier deported to the Nazi prison camp Rava-Ruska, located in a Ukrainian town that borders Poland. Fr. Desbois was one of the Museum’s 2012 Hope for Humanity honorees.

The Museum’s current Special Exhibit through the end of the year, “Holocaust by Bullets,” tells the story of the mass killings of Jews, the murder of Roma and the disabled—and YIU’s quest to uncover the truth of the atrocities.

Alexis Kosarevsky, a project and team leader for YIU, working under Fr. Desbois’ direction, has participated in over 40 investigations in the Ukraine and Eastern Europe—research trips that have uncovered 1,700 gravesites.

At the opening reception of the new special exhibit on Sept. 10, Kosarvesky told of his first assignment—translating the testimony of an eyewitness to a mass killing of Jews in a Ukranian village during World War II by Nazis. The victims had been buried in a nearby, unmarked mass grave.

“Just a few weeks before, I was living a care-free life in Paris, a young bachelor,” Kosarevsky said. “Now, I had just retold the story of one of the worst experiences that I had ever heard in my life—of man’s inhumanity to man.”

During a break for the eyewitness, Kosarevsky said he walked to the edge of the mass grave and found himself speaking out loud. “I said to those buried there, ‘You are not forgotten anymore.’ ”

Speaking to a crowd of about 100 people gathered in the Museum’s Theater, Kosarevsky described the five stages that were part of each Nazi massacre, which are described in detail in the exhibit. All total, about 2 million people were shot and left in unmarked graves.

Tragically, it appears that modern-day massacres in areas such as Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur, the Balkans and Syria may be modeled on these village-by-village, on-site massacres perpetrated by the Nazis and their collaborators.

Neither Yahad-In-Unum—nor he, personally—will stop the quest for properly identifying and memorializing each of the victims, Kosarevsky said. “We say to the killers of the world, wherever you kill the people, we will come back to uncover and document what you have done,” he said.

In her remarks at the opening reception, Museum President and CEO Mary Pat Higgins said, “It is our fervent hope that presenting this exhibit influences all of us to work for a world in which history of this sort cannot repeat itself.”

The special exhibit is presented and sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Dallas.

Special thanks to the Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation, for helping the Museum bring Dallas Independent School District students to visit the exhibit; 70kft; Signworks of Dallas; and for their partnership, Yahad-In-Unum and Father Desbois.

Be sure to join us on Oct. 15 for our next Upstander Speaker Series presentation: Ret. Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, former UN peacekeeping force commander for Rwanda at 6:30 p.m. at SMU.

-Chris Kelley, for the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance

 

 

 

 

Preventing Massacres Today by Learning from Massacres of the Past

004holocaustbybulletsThe story of the Holocaust is undeniably tragic.

There is no “bright side” to the mass murder of six million European Jews, Roma, homosexuals and others. It is one of the worst periods in human history, and it is painful to consider.

It is not our mission at the Dallas Holocaust Museum, however, to depress our visitors. Quite the opposite, we want you filled with a sense of hope and purpose. We want you to leave the Museum determined to never let these horrors happen again. We want you to be inspired, transformed and motivated to create a future free from hate.

We realize that our upcoming special exhibit “Holocaust By Bullets: Yahad-In Unum – 10 Years of Investigations,” running Sept. 10 to Dec. 31, will be troubling to view. During WWII, the Germans conducted the majority of the genocide by deporting Jews to death camps, located mostly in Poland. In the Soviet Union, however, an insufficient rail system and the capacities of death camps compelled the Nazis to murder Jews near their homes and villages. After shooting their victims, the Nazis buried them in mass ditches before continuing on to another village.

More than 1,700 mass killing sites in Europe have been identified.

There are not words strong enough to express how terrible this story is.

There is hope for the future, though.

The “Holocaust By Bullets” exhibit was created Yahad – In Unum, a global organization created to raise consciousness of the sites of Jewish and Roma mass executions by Nazi killing units in Eastern Europe during World War II. The organization was founded by a Roman Catholic priest — Father Patrick Desbois.

Modern-day massacres in Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur, the Balkans and Syria have been modeled after the tactics used by the Nazis in the Soviet Union. By studying these sites, we can learn more about this form of genocide and how to prevent it. While Father Desbois’ work nobly memorializes so many victims of the Nazis, it also gives hope for a future where this form of genocide no longer exists.

Yes, “Holocaust By Bullets” will be hard to view. It will also be sure to inspire. We hope that you will visit us to see it.

Factual Survey leaves indelible mark—but for the right reasons

german-concentration-camps-factual-survey-1945-2014-002For the first seven minutes of German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, the audience sat in communal silence.

Literally, not one sound could be heard in the Cinemark 17 Theater in North Dallas as the official British documentary film on the Nazi concentration camps of WWII began to play.

Before the film, Museum President and CEO Mary Pat Higgins warned the 325 people in attendance at the Aug. 3 special screening that the images we were about to watch would be “full of the painful truth” about the atrocities that happened at Nazi concentration and extermination camps—the “starvation, cruelty, murder, misery and suffering . . .”

It was most certainly painful. And, it is why silence seemed the appropriate response to this film: words cannot accurately capture this depiction of man’s inhumanity to man.

Incorporating the work of British, American, and Soviet camera crews, the film documents the liberation of concentration and extermination camps by the Allies as the war in Europe came to a close in April and May 1945.

Alfred Hitchcock, a one-time treatment advisor on the film, suggested the filmmakers avoid tricky editing to enhance the film’s authenticity and credibility. What we are left with are long takes of the most gruesome scenes from the Holocaust: piles of human remains, ashes from the crematoria, and the signs of lives once lived—bags of human hair, wedding rings, spectacles, and toothbrushes.

Footage accumulated for the film would be used in the postwar prosecution of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg and Lüneburg.

Postwar politics and an urgent need to begin the rebuilding of war-ravaged Germany and Britain overtook the film’s production timeline and reflective script.

Consequently, the film was shelved, although excerpts from it were released as part of other Holocaust documentaries after the Imperial War Museum took possession of the rough cut in 1952. Footage, for example, was used in the 1985 documentary, “A Painful Reminder.”

After funding was secured, work to restore and complete the film began in earnest in December 2008. Factual Survey premiered at the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival. A documentary about the making of the film was later shown on HBO (under the title Night Will Fall) on Jan. 27, 2015, Holocaust Remembrance Day, the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

In a brief Q&A following the Cinemark screening, local Holocaust survivor Max Glauben said the film depicted the life he experienced in concentration camps, but the true reality of the atrocities, he said, remain difficult to convey. Max said he would rather focus on the positive lessons he learned as a survivor while reminding the world that evil is ultimately a choice made by each person individually.

The film screening was made possible by Cinemark Theatres, which donated the use of the theater, Academic Partnerships and, in part, with a grant from Humanities Texas, the State Affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Join us on September 10 at 5:30 p.m. for the opening reception and lecture for the upcoming special exhibit “Holocaust by Bullets.” Also, please plan to join us on October 15 for our next Upstander Speaker Series presentation: Ret. Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, former UN peacekeeping force commander for Rwanda at 6:30 p.m. at SMU.

–Chris Kelley, for the Dallas Holocaust Museum

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