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'Change Begins with Me' exhibit at Holocaust Museum confronts hate

7:24 PM, Dec 7, 2012   |    comments
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By Heidi Glaus

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - The images are hard to look at. The stories still shocking more than 70 years later.

"First they went to a shower, then they dropped a gas bomb in and then they cremated them, okay. That's what happened to my mother and three siblings," Ben Fainer, a Holocaust survivor tells four students.

The Holocaust Museum and Learning Center opened in 1995, but three years ago the folks at the museum started working on a new exhibit.

"This exhibition is really about extending the conversation from what ended in 1945 to really talking about hate discrimination and ethnic conflict in today's world," Jean Cavender, Director of the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center explains.

It is a high-tech, hands-on learning opportunity that examines international issues of hate and discrimination, as well as the unthinkable in our own community.

"Oh this is the knockout game, I didn't know about this before," one student says to another as they read about the local tragedy.

"We really want to bring it home to kids that these things start in maybe small ways, but can get larger and larger and larger," Cavender adds.

They also want visitors to know change begins with them, so you'll also see and hear examples of what others have done to make a change.

"And then we're giving them some action steps," Cavender says as she pulls up action steps.

The hope is that it encourages people to stand up against social injustice.

"The new exhibit brings into focus that if we basically don't learn from history that history repeats itself. We must learn, we must learn tolerance and understanding and we can't let these things happen again," George Spooner, another Holocaust survivor says.

It's why the new exhibit was created and why these men bravely share what they would really rather not talk about.

"But I'm doing it now with my heart and body and my should and I'm doing it mostly for my mother," Fainer says as he starts to cry.

The Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, as well as the new exhibit "Change Begins with Me" is open to the public and free of charge.

To learn more, visit their website.


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