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UMFK's Blake Gallery to feature holocaust traveling exhibit

March 1, 2002



The University of Maine at Fort Kent's Blake Gallery is featuring a photographic exhibit entitled "Soul Survivors: Legacy of the Holocaust". The exhibit is on loan from the Holocaust Human Rights Center of Maine (HHRC) and is on display from March 5 through March 15 in the library.

This exhibit, which is one of three traveling exhibits, contains 19 remarkable black and white portraitures of Holocaust survivors by Jack Montgomery, accompanied by excerpts from their oral testimony interviews selected by Professor Steve Hochstadt of Bates College.

A film entitled "Maine Survivors Remember the Holocaust" will run continuously in the same exhibit space.

"This is an exhibit that will touch viewers deeply. It is hard to look at these faces and not see the horror and sheer evil of the Holocaust. It is there in the eyes: old and knowing," said Sharon Nichols, executive director for HHRC.

Nichols and Jackie Littlefield, HHRC academic outreach coordinator, will visit UMFK and conduct a presentation for education students and faculty on Tuesday, March 5 at 11:00 a.m.

The Holocaust Human Rights Center of Maine grew out of a seminar, "Teaching About the Nazi Holocaust in Maine Schools," held at Bowdoin College in 1984. The participants found the seminar to be a powerful and compelling commentary on the fragility of democracy and they resolved to carry on the work.

Under the leadership of Gerda Haas, herself a survivor and author of a book on the Holocaust, the center was formed and incorporated in 1985.

The mission of the HHRC is to educate about the Holocaust, to advocate for human rights and dignity, and to celebrate diversity. Its goal is to teach lessons, which can be learned from the Holocaust about what can happen when human rights are destroyed.

The HHRC is a nonprofit, nonsectarian, and nonpartisan organization guided by an interfaith board of directors. In its various programs, the HHRC works to reduce prejudice, teach critical thinking, and empower Maine students not to be bystanders, but to take an active role in creating a more humane society.

Educational resources and teacher resources are available from the HHRC for use in classroom studies. In addition to the resources, the center's education outreach coordinator conducts workshops and seminars for teachers statewide.

The HHRC also offers two $500 scholarships available to high school seniors or home schoolers who are residents of Maine and who have been accepted at any accredited college, university, or technical school. They are the John Mizner Memorial Scholarship and the Laurence Alan Spiegel Remembrance Scholarship. Awards offered by the HHRC are the Outstanding Student of the Year Award, the Take A Stand Award and the Holocaust Educator of the Year Award.

UMFK's Diversity Committee is responsible for bringing the exhibit and guest speakers to the campus.

The exhibit can be viewed during Blake Library hours. For more information on the exhibit or library hours, contact gallery curator Sofia Birden at 834-7527.