From UNC Asheville News Services
UNC Asheville’s Center for Diversity Education presents a new exhibit for the month of March, “Parallel Journeys: WW II and the Holocaust,” telling the stories of dozens of teens and young adults who were witnesses, participants and victims. The exhibit is free and open to the public from March 4-29 in UNC Asheville’s Karpen Hall.
An opening reception will be held at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, in Karpen Hall, followed by a keynote address, “How the Holocaust Shaped My Life,” by concentration camp survivor and area resident Walter Ziffer, at 7 p.m. in the Highsmith University Union, Alumni Hall.
While Anne Frank’s diary is one of the most widely read books in the world, her story alone does not document the complexity of the war. “Parallel Journeys” profiles a variety of young people, not all of whom were heroic. Some became famous and some did not; their stories invite visitors to contemplate the ways in which everyone’s actions can make a difference in today’s world.
Among those profiled are Elie Wiesel (Auschwitz survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner), members of the White Rose resistance group, and Traudl Junge (Adolf Hitler’s secretary). Lesser-known teens will also have their stories told, including those who survived the concentration camps, hid from the Nazis, led rescue efforts, served as soldiers, remained on the home front, or aided individuals who were targets of Nazi oppression, such as the handicapped, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and political prisoners.
Ziffer will share his story in person. A native of Cieszyn, Czech Republic, he was deported at the age of 14 and imprisoned in different Nazi concentration camps, performing slave labor in a variety of weapons factories. He was liberated in 1945. To learn more about his story visit: http://toto.lib.unca.edu/findingaids/oralhistory/SHOAH/ziffer.htm.
“Parallel Journeys” is a traveling exhibition on loan from the Kennesaw State University Museum of History and Holocaust Education. For more information, please contact UNC Asheville’s Center for Diversity Education at 828/232-5024.