BEACHWOOD, Ohio — As the human race, what is our responsibility to remember?
For the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, a special exhibition brings memory into the physical world of its visitors.
"Stories of Survival" opened up recently at the Beachwood museum. It features more than 60 never-before seen personal items from those who survived the Holocaust and other genocides across the globe. Those artefacts were then brought to the United States by immigrants.
"The objects that have traveled through the Holocaust represent many countries, and we also are covering countries that have experienced genocide like Cambodia, Rwanda, Sudan, among others," said Dahlia Fisher, Director of External Relations for the museum.
These objects from all over the world now represent so much more than their original purposes.
"If you look through the exhibition, there are children's toys, often something that we might give away as a parent," said Fisher. "They have meaning for the person that owns it, but even layered meaning, knowing that it survived something as traumatic as the atrocity of a genocide."
And for guests who experience these items frozen in time, the hope is to glean lessons from them for the future.
"I think that when people come through this exhibition, we have a responsibility to take our time, to find the image, the object that resonates with us personally, and read those stories," said Fisher. "This is an opportunity for us to remember people who have perished, but also those who have survived. I think the exhibition is a reminder that we are a composite of different stories and within each of us is a history, is a story of struggle and perseverance. And it begs the question, 'what story do you have to tell?'"
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