The latest exhibit at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine will feature a collection of the artifacts that have been given to the HHRC over the years and compiled in a way that tells the story of the years leading up to the Holocaust through liberation.
“Our Stories Have to Be Told: HHRC Artifacts from the Holocaust” brings together a powerful collection of items that have been donated or loaned to the HHRC over the years. The exhibit will open on Wednesday, June 5, 5 to 7 p.m. with a program beginning at 5:30 p.m. featuring educator Suzi Ring, whose late husband Dennis donated a collection of items from concentration camps.
In addition, speakers will include Noel March, who will share the story of his father Leonard, who was a liberator. Lee D. Mitgang will speak about his father Herbert who wrote for the Stars and Stripes and went on to have a successful career as a journalist. The exhibit was put together by HHRC Associate Director David Greenham and recent University of Southern Maine graduate Justin Dyer of Bath. Both will speak about the process of creating the exhibit.
The title comes from a quote by Holocaust survivor Jerry Slivka (July 11, 1915 – January 10, 2013). He is one of several survivors whose quotes and reflections are included in the exhibit.
Jerry Slivka was born in the Ukraine, but his village was destroyed during WWI. The family moved to the Jewish section of another town nearby named Povursk. When Hitler came to power, Jerry was out of school and decided to move to Lodz, Poland. He worked making sweaters and then returned to Povursk in 1937. Four years later, Jerry was drafted into the Soviet army. During his time of service, he lost contact with his family. In 1943, Jerry was sent to a work camp in Siberia where he remained until the end of the war. At that time, the Soviet Union had an agreement that those who were Polish citizens prior to 1939 could go back to Poland. Jerry qualified, submitted his application, and a year later returned to Poland. He learned that his parents, sister and one brother were killed. Jerry was able to find his surviving brother and the two traveled to Italy before arriving to the U.S. in 1948. Soon after, he met and married his wife Rochelle. The couple moved to Maine and helped found the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine. At the time of his death, he was survived by two daughters, six grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
“Our Stories Have to Be Told: HHRC Artifacts from the Holocaust” will be open from June 5 through Sept. 13. The HHRC, located at the Michael Klahr Center on the campus of the University of Maine at Augusta - 46 University Dr.) is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or on weekends and evenings by appointment.