Students take closer look at memory and history

Students take closer look at memory and history

Veronica Mupazviriwo, a student at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, came with 22 other members of her honors class in Holocaust studies to see the exhibit “From Memory to History: Faces and Voices of the Holocaust” at the Aidekman campus in Whippany on March 4.

The exhibit, presented annually by the Holocaust Council of Greater MetroWest, depicts the family stories of numerous Holocaust survivors from the area. The panels include descriptive text, documents from the pre- and postwar periods, and photographs of the survivors and family members from childhood through their senior years. Videotaped testimony and artifacts are also on view at the exhibit, which will be on display through April 30.

NJJN spoke with Mupazviriwo just as the class was getting ready to leave — except she didn’t want to go.

The native of Zimbabwe said she was moved by the images she saw. “Seeing the pictures of the survivors and reading about their experiences, you can see how their normal lives were so disrupted by the Holocaust,” she said. She found particularly heart-rending the photos of the numbers tattooed onto survivor Helen Paktor’s arm. “That truly made me think how terrible it must have been to have your identity stripped and having to live by a number,” Mupazviriwo said, adding, “The exhibit really makes you realize that we must preserve peace and prevent further things like this from happening. I wish I had more time to look at everything in more detail.”

As part of their studies, the students heard firsthand accounts of the Holocaust from survivors who came to their classroom to give testimony, including Bernd Haase, who visited the students on Feb. 25 with his wife, son, grandson, and granddaughter Kathryn Ihringer, a student in the class.

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