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Connecticut Humanities awards grant for redesign of Holocaust exhibit

WEST HARTFORD – The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford (JHSGH), in partnership with the Mandell Jewish Community Center, has received a grant award from Connecticut Humanities to renovate and update the existing Holocaust Memorial Room at the JCC, which is located in West Hartford.

The design for the renovated room will use interactive, multi-media technology to transform the current exhibition space into the physical environment of 1930s and 1940s Europe, while incorporating the oral testimonies of greater Hartford survivors, liberators, child survivors, bystanders and non-Jewish victims.

“This exhibit will be the only one of its kind in the greater Hartford area, and we see it as a resource for educators, students and others who wish to learn more about this tragic period through the voices of those who lived it,” said JHSGH Executive Director Estelle Kafer. “The survivors and liberators are aging. Soon, there will be no one to tell their stories and share their experiences. This innovative exhibition is being created to capture and preserve their memories for future generations.  We are now putting together a committee to make decisions about the exhibition content and when they are finished, the technological work will begin to make this space informative, educational, inviting, and user-friendly.”

The new Holocaust exhibit will focus on the stories of 5-10 local survivors within the context of the larger, historical event to emphasize the complexity of individual choices faced by those involved. It will also incorporate the timely social issues of discrimination, prejudice, civic responsibility and peer pressure. The Society will also work with schools to assist with curriculum material and provide access to its archive.

Funding for this project is provided by the State of Connecticut and the National Endowment for the Humanities, both of which provide significant funding to Connecticut Humanities. Connecticut Humanities is a non-profit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities that funds, creates and collaborates on hundreds of cultural programs across Connecticut each year.

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