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Commemoration to focus on life before Shoah

The Szabason family in Kozienice, Poland, in 1937. (Photo courtesy Jewish History Museum)

This year’s community Yom HaShoah commemoration will mark 80 years since the outbreak of World War II by reflecting on the vibrant and diverse Jewish life that existed in Europe and North Africa before the Holocaust.

“On the Eve: Jewish Life Before the Third Reich” will be held Sunday, May 5 at 2 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center.

Throughout the program, Holocaust survivors and descendants of Holocaust survivors will reflect on their individual and family experiences before the war. Photos that represent local family ties to Jewish life before the Holocaust will be presented before and throughout the commemoration. (See www.jewishhistorymuseum.org/submissions for information on submitting photos.)

Count Ferdinand von Galen will light the candle for the righteous in honor of his great-uncle, Count Clemens August Graf von Galen, who protested Nazi persecution of people with disabilities and was involved with the rescue of the rabbi of Westphalia.

“All too often, Holocaust education and remembrance is overly focused on the Nazis and their crimes and neglects to deeply concern itself with the vast range of Jewish life and culture that was lost,” says Bryan Davis, director of the Jewish History Museum, which is helping to organize the event. “The curatorial ethic that undergirds the exhibition in the Holocaust History Center at the Jewish History Museum was developed with the idea of reckoning with this facet of Holocaust memory. This year’s Yom HaShoah program will redirect our attention from Nazi crimes to Jewish life as well.” 

For more information, contact Lisa Schacter-Brooks at 670-9073 or museum@jewishhistorymuseum.org.