NEW YORk CITY—A new exhibit opened at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. It’s the largest of its kind ever seen in the United States.
Lona Adler is a child of a survivor family, born in a displaced persons camp. She dedicated her life to becoming an educator in the hope that the legacy of her family’s experiences might teach future generations.
“If I can reach two or three children who say to me I didn’t know that, wow I didn’t know that, I feel that I have accomplished something,” she said.
NTD reporters met with Adler before she started her voluntary work for the exhibit, called “Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away.” The exhibition emphasizes the charity and solidarity of the prisoners there.
From photographs of the victims to brutal evidence of 20th-century deprivation and desperation. This exhibition includes more than 700 objects spread over three floors with different themes. It has never been seen before on American soil.
Standing before the exit on the third floor, curator Robert Jan van Pelt said, “This room is dedicated to actually all of the incredibly positive, the humanistic things that came out that prisoners in the most difficult situations were able to preserve,” he added. “By simply doing that, we can plant the seeds in the moral imagination of our visitors.”
“Of course the artifacts we have here are kind of frozen in time, but they speak too. Every artifact in here has any kind has a story to tell.”
This exhibition is not only a record of the wrongs, but also a history of the righteousness and bravery of the people who suffered through it.
“Here, just before the exit of the exhibition, celebrates in someway also that perseverance and the charity of ordinary people who found themselves in the most difficult circumstances,” said Jan van Pelt.
“An exhibition like this might help to in someway lift the burdens of the shoulders of the original eyewitnesses and allow us all to share that burden,” he added.
On the second floor, pictures are shown of the heroes that helped out the victims, including the picture of the “Chinese Schindler” who saved thousands of Jews at that time by handing out visas.
Jan van Pelt said, “If later, a year from now, two years from now, you hear about something happening down the roads or in your town, and there is really a need to stand up as citizen to say I’m not allowing this to happen … and you just remember that you saw this exhibition and that you see that if I don’t stand up now, down the road something else and much more terrible might happen, and we do have the responsibility for each other. I think this exhibition has done its work.”