“The Courage to Remember” exhibit encourages students to have
knowledge of the past to avoid future horrific circumstances.
Garrett Horn / The Collegian
Numerous Fresno State students, faculty, community members and high schools visited the Holocaust exhibit “The Courage to Remember.”
The opening ceremony last week marked the first of six days that the exhibit will be on campus.
The event is presented by the Foundation for California, “a non-profit educational corporation established to perform educational programs on issues of importance to the State of California, its local communities and the people of California.”
Thanks to a grant from SNCF, the French National Railway Corporation, “The Courage to Remember” exhibit has returned to California for the first time since 1991. Prior to receiving the grant, the foundation didn’t have the required funds needed to tour in California.
Rod Wilson, president of the Foundation for California, said that the traveling exhibit makes viewers become more aware of the issues in their own communities.
“The reality is that hatred, race, religion and crimes towards each other didn’t die with the Holocaust,” Wilson said. “They are still going on in today’s world.”
South Africa has been placed at stage 5 from 2001 to 2011 by genocidewatch.org. Stage 5 is polarization. The scale consists of eight stages designed to promote understanding and prevention of present and future genocides.
Genocide Watch has identified Somalia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, South Africa and Colombia, among other countries as areas at a high risk of genocide.
“Since crimes continue, events like this force you to take a moment and remember the terrible atrocities so that when we see them happening today we have the courage to do something about it,” Wilson added.
The opening reception began with pianist Hatem Nadim and Fresno State professor of violin Limor Toren-Immerman playing “Remembrances,” a tribute to Holocaust victims.
Toren-Immerman is from Israel and lived next to Yad Vashem, a Holocaust museum in Jerusalem.
“It was important for me to be a part of this exhibit because I think we should remember events in history like this so they don’t repeat themselves,” Toren-Immerman said.
Toren-Immerman also said that she hopes viewers who attend this exhibit will leave with the knowledge, awareness and readiness to prevent something like the Holocaust from happening again.
“Individuals can make a difference in the community,” Wilson said. “One person standing up can stop a movement from beginning. We all have the power, we just have to use it.”
Ephraim Hadjis, 70, was just a child living in Greece during the Holocaust.
He and his family traveled throughout Greece and hid in the mountains for several years to avoid being caught by the Nazi authorities.
“The most painful part of everything wasn’t the hiding,” Hadjis said. “It’s the fact that as you grow older and you realize what happened, you realize that you grew up without grandparents, and you realize why.”
Along with Hadjis, Holocaust survivor Anna Levin-Ware was also present at the ceremony.
Fresno State mechanical engineering major Ruthany Hour thinks it will be a good event for students to attend.
“We have to remember our past so that we don’t let it happen again,” Hour said. “Students with a passion or talent should use it in a productive manner, not in a way that will hurt society.”
Wilson said that because of today’s media, we are more aware of crimes against each other than in the past.
“We see hate crimes through the media,” Wilson said. “But we also see real heroes in communities. They have the courage to stand up against things that are wrong, which is why we are very grateful and very excited to share this with students.”