Monday, September 8, 2003

Holocaust survivors' tales add to exhibit

Center to keep stories on display

By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer

CLIFTON - On the videotape, Henry Blumenstein slowly tells his story of surviving the Holocaust as a child.

His father was kidnapped in 1939 and taken to a concentration camp. His mother fled to Holland with Henry, then 3, before she was taken by Nazis too. He never saw her again.

Henry spent years hiding from the Germans in a potato cellar before being reunited with his father in 1946 at Ellis Island. They eventually settled in Greater Cincinnati.

As Blumenstein's story unfolds on a video screen behind her, Racelle Weiman says such personal stories reflect the Holocaust with more impact than the statistics of millions of deaths. And that's the point of the newest exhibit at the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education.

"The most compelling part of the Holocaust experience is the survivors' testimony, and these survivors aren't going to be around much longer," said Weiman, director of the center at the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion. "This shows what happens to people once hatred is unleashed."

Hundreds of people visited the campus adjacent to the University of Cincinnati during the opening weekend of the permanent "Mapping Our Tears" exhibit. Many also participated Sunday in events to commemorate 350 years of Jewish-American history.

Sunday's celebration included a bus tour of Jewish Cincinnati and a mix of classes such as "Maintaining Jewish Business Ethics in the Age of Enron," "Out of the Ordinary: Jewish and Gay in America," and "Portrait of the 21st Century Pulpit: Redefining Rabbis and the Issues."


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