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May 15, 1987 - Image 52

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-05-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

HISTORY LESS ON

On Sunday, an Auschwitz
exhibit will open here
to remind mankind
to learn from the past

HEIDI PRESS

News Editor

A

uschwitz. The very
word brings terror into
the hearts and minds of
those who survived the
horrible atrocities
committed there against mankind.
Today, remnants of that bar-
baric Nazi death machine travel the
world to remind people everywhere of
these bestialities so that they will
never again be perpetrated. On Sun-
day, the display of these artifacts will
open at the Wayne State University
Community Arts Gallery and remain
there for public display until May 29.
Entitled "Auschwitz: A Crime
Against Mankind," the exhibit will
depict the death camp experience
through 135 panels of photographs,
documents and artwork and through
the personal belongings of the in-
mates — suitcases, children's clo-
thing, taleisim, siddurim, eye-
glasses, combs, train tickets and
identity cards. The exhibit also will
include a prisoner's shirt, trousers,
camp letters, warning signs, Zyklon
B gas canisters, human hair and
human ashes.
According to Alex Ehrmann, co-
chairman of the Auschwitz Exhibi-
tion Committee with Melba Winer
and a Holocaust survivor himself, the
exhibit is being brought here not for
its shock value but to educate. "Our
single most important accomplish-
ment is to educate the public, the
non-involved and the uninformed.
And to prevent its (Holocaust) re-
currence."
Mrs. Winer echoed his thoughts.
"We tend to forget what it was; we
have to be reminded, to recognize the
fact that ordinary people were in-
volved in the slaughter of innocent
people.
"We have to protect future gen-
erations from the same kind of thing.
If you are aware, you can prevent it."
Mrs. Winer said that one reason
Detroit was picked as a site for the

52

Friday, May 15, 1987

traveling exhibit is the multi-ethnic
nature of the community. Not only
are Jewish groups planning to tour
the exhibit, but school groups,
Catholic institutions and others as
well have been invited.
Compiled by the Auschwitz
State Museum and the International
Auschwitz Committee, the exhibit
came to this country in late 1985. Its
first stop was the United Nations,
where its appearance was timed to
coincide with Human Rights Day.
Sponsored in the U.S. by the United
Jewish Appeal, the exhibit was
brought to Detroit by, the Jewish
Welfare Federation, Jewish Com-
munity Council and the Holocaust
Memorial Center. Cooperating local
organizations are the Ecumenical In-
stitute for Jewish-Christian Studies
and the Michigan Division, Polish
American Congress.
• In the U.S. for two years, the ex-
hibit is scheduled to be seen in Nor-
folk, Va.; Harrisburg and Scranton,
Pa.; El Paso, Tex.; Seattle, Wash.;
Los Angeles, Calif.; Detroit; Roches-
ter, N.Y.; Boston, Mass.; Miami, Fla.;
Pittsburgh, Pa.; Atlanta, Ga.; Cleve-
land, Ohio; Dallas, Tex.; and New
York City.
Admission here is free, and
hours at Wayne State are: Sunday,
Monday, Thursday, Friday, Satur-
day, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; and Tuesday
and Wednesday, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
At the by-invitation-only cere-
monies on Sunday, a special pre-
sentation will be made to Cezary
Horazyczewska, the son of Polish
citizens who helped rescue Jews dur-
ing the Holocaust. He and his mother
reside in Detroit.
In advance of coming to the ex-
hibit, school groups received packets
of background material. Upon arri-
val, each group will hear an "opening
address" to tell them how to view the
exhibit. "We don't want them to be
horrified," Mrs. Winer said. "We
want them to recognize how the de-
humanization of humanity oc-
curred." After each tour, a survivor of
Auschwitz will speak to each group.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

This Witold Werndl sculpture of women
at work appears as part of the exhibit.

Mrs. Winer lauded the survivors for
their courage. "The survivors are so
incredibly wonderful to let the pain-
ful questions be asked of them and to
answer them."
About 50 volunteers, men and
women, were recruited for the ex-
hibit. Dottie Kaufman, overall vol-
unteer coordinator, said the volun-
teers will take the groups through
the exhibit as well as be available to
answer questions.
Assisted by Betty Rosenhaus
and Susan Friedman, Mrs. Kaufman
said many volunteers have come
from the Ecumenical Institute for
Jewish-Christian Studies. They will
take over for the Jewish volunteers
on Saturday, according to Rev. James
Lyons, institute director, "so the
Jews won't violate the Sabbath."
Lyons himself will direct a group
of Jewish eighth graders through the
exhibit. He said their teacher wanted
them to go through the exhibit with a
Christian.
The Ecumenical Institute for
Jewish-Christian Studies was in-
vited to be a part of the Auschwitz
exhibit's appearance here. It is dedi-
cated to combatting anti-Semitism
and bringing diverse religious
groups together for dialogue to pre-
vent another Holocaust. For Lyons,
the exhibit has a special meaning as
well.
"The Holocaust represents the
greatest failure of human society and
the Church in recorded history.
Every aspect of our society including
the medical, the legal, the business,
the educational, the governmental

Shaving materials, brushes, mirrors, shoe
polish tins, socks and combs were collected.

and the religious failed. If we want to
create a better future we need to re-
view and learn from the past."
He will be a keynote speaker at
Sunday's opening ceremonies.
Mrs. Winer said the appearance
here of the exhibit has another func-
tion besides educational. It is to pro-
mote Detroit's Holocaust Memorial
Center as well. "We feel that the Au-
schwitz exhibit is only part of history.
The Holocaust Memorial Center can
give a total picture."
For Mrs. Winer and Ehrmann as
chairmen, their tasks were monu-
mental. "We see that everything is
done from the day it (the exhibit's
visit here) is perceived to the time we
close," Ehrmann said. His duties in-
cluded the organization of attendees,
organizing of publicity, overseeing
mechanical functions and security.
Mrs. Winer trained volunteers
and wrote a manual for them and
edited brochures. "I trained the
trainers," she remarked. And al-
though it is not only intended for
Jewish eyes, the appearance of the
exhibit here, according to Mrs.
Winer, is a triumph for the Jewish
community.
"It's a particularly prideful con-
cept." [1]

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