22 April 2009

Collections: A Holocaust show-and-tell

Collections of Judaica, even as mundane as kippot from life cycle events, can provide clues to our family's lives. This collection of artifacts tells the story of the Holocaust in a different way.

The story was in the Penn State Collegian.

When civil rights activist Ken Lawrence heard Ku Klux Klan members in the '70s denying the existence of the Holocaust, he thought the best way to fight them would be to show, not tell.

In 1978, Lawrence, a now-66-year-old resident of Spring Mills, Pa., started collecting letters, postcards and other historical documents pertaining to the Holocaust.
The collection numbers about 250 items, and he has spent more than three decades exhibiting them at schools and universities and proving the Holocaust through those who suffered.

Lawrence recently sold the collection to the Florence and Laurence Spungen Family Foundation to ensure that it will continue to be seen whether or not he is around.

"I'm getting old. I've traveled around for 30 years," he said. "It's time for somebody else to take over and continue the work."
Danny Spungen met Lawrence at a stamp collector's group and was amazed at what he had collected.

"I saw this older man holding this Jewish Torah made out of animal skin," Spungen said. "And it was torn up and used as an envelope. And it had Nazi stamps on it."

Spungen, who is Jewish, said he knew little about the Holocaust before he saw Lawrence's collection because his family and friends never talked about it. But that single piece of torn Torah intrigued him.

"To see our written laws being destroyed and used to make shoes, lampshades, and used as envelopes ... that's very powerful," he said.
After the foundation acquired the collection, Spungen began taking it on the road to teach about the Holocaust. The traveling exhibit will be loaned to the new Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie.

Read the complete article at the link above.

No comments:

Post a Comment