Traveling Exhibit At CSULB Remembers Holocaust

Traveling Exhibit At CSULB Remembers Holocaust

By Ashleigh Oldland

Gazette Newspapers

September 22, 2011


“Hope lives when people remember.” —Simon Wiesenthal


That’s the mantra behind “Courage to Remember,” a traveling exhibit that details some of the history and graphic images from the Holocaust presented by the Museum of Tolerance, Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Foundation for California.


“Courage to Remember” opened Monday on the third floor of California State University, Long Beach’s Library; the exhibit will remain on display at CSULB through Oct. 16.


During the Monday exhibit opening at CSULB, Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster as well as state Sen. Alan Lowenthal were among representatives from the university and Simon Wiesenthal Center.


“Humans are capable of extraordinary things — both good and bad,” Foster said. “This (exhibit) is a way to honor those lost and those who survived and prevent something like this from happening again… We all need to have the courage to remember and make sure those horrific things don’t happen again. We invite evil by not remembering.”


Also there to celebrate “Courage to Remember” were three Holocaust survivors, including Gerda Seifer, who spoke openly about her feelings about the Holocaust and the world today.


“Winston Churchill said that the Holocaust was the greatest crime in human history…” Siefer said. “Yet today there are genocides and hate… That’s why I’ve been speaking in schools for more than 40 years, asking students to treat each other how they would want to be treated. I’m very optimistic the good will prevail.”


Three identical versions of the exhibit will travel throughout California for the next year, appearing in libraries, schools, community centers and other public venues, thanks to grant money from SNCF, France’s national railway corporation, which was involved in the transportation of Jews and other Holocaust victims from France to Nazi death camps during World War II.


Denis Doute, spokesman for SNCF, attended the exhibit opening at CSULB and emphasized that SNCF is committed to helping communities remember and potentially prevent future genocides.


The exhibit “Courage to Remember” was first created in 1988 and was first displayed in California in 1991. The exhibit has garnered national acclaim, and the horrific lessons that can be learned from the Holocaust are just as relevant today as ever, said Rod Wilson, a Long Beach businessman and president of the Foundation for California.


“There are 40 display panels in this exhibit with 200 original photographs that cannot be seen anywhere except this exhibit,” Wilson said. “This is something the community really needs to see… In local communities we are becoming more aware of hate crimes. Every day there are people being discriminated against because they are different.


“All across the country and world we see discrimination, genocide… This (exhibit) is meant to engage people to better understand the stories and history that happened and inspire people to take a stand against evil and hatred.”


Wilson said photographs in the exhibit illustrate great suffering, but also show what great triumph and personal perseverance it would take for people to overcome such horror.


“This exhibit takes an effort to personalize this atrocity,” he said. “There are a number of stories told about individuals and circumstances that focus not on the number of people killed, but specific individuals: moms, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles.”


For more about this free exhibit at CSULB, visit