On Monday, October 4, 2021, The Iowa Jewish Historical Society sponsored and organized a trip for 35 community members, including two high school students, to attend “Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away.” This traveling exhibit displayed more than 700 original objects for the first time in history.
Below are thoughts, reactions and photos from those who traveled to see this powerful exhibit about one of the darkest moments in history.
“I am so grateful to have attended the Auschwitz exhibit with the Iowa Jewish Historical Society. It was crushingly painful, thought provoking, and curated well to preserve and raise awareness of the tragic history during this current time of increased xenophobia. The images shared demonstrate the long history of prejudice shared with powerful institutions; how hatred of the “other” can overtake civility even when the percentages are so small of a population-which I can see happening with other populations today; and hope in humanity for all those who risked it all to make sure another life was saved.” — Dawn Martinez Oropeza
“Powerful and sobering is how I would describe the Auschwitz exhibit. With more and more of our citizenry not being able to correctly identify Auschwitz and the causes of the Holocaust, it was heartening to see the exhibit sold out – even on a Monday. Quietly and respectfully, visitors from all walks of life moved about in the semi-darkness of the exhibit, viewing the artifacts and carefully reading the accompanying panels – or listening to descriptions on their headsets. Masks largely hid facial expressions, but the emotions evoked were palpable. Near the end of the exhibit, a cautionary statement from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation Committee was displayed: ‘In the world of rapid changes, the lesson of Auschwitz should be a warning, forcing us all to think about our active responsibility for the world we live in.’ WE MUST NEVER FORGET.” — Carolyn Rogers
“I learned new information regarding the Holocaust from this exhibit. I encourage everyone to take the time to visit this important exhibition. It was incredibly moving.” — Gloria Bernstein
“Visiting the Auschwitz Exhibit was a memorable experience and one I will not forget. It gives individuals of all ages an opportunity to see an exhibit of this quality and theme nearby. You will obtain from seeing the exhibit with a strong foundation to a time in history that should Never Be Forgotten.” — Jody Jacklin
“The Auschwitz exhibit in Kansas City was powerful! The use of time, organization of artifacts, and videos shared made it a remarkable experience. This exhibit was very different from my time at Yad Vashem and the Holocaust Museum in DC. I highly recommend you go before it leaves the Midwest in January.” — Sophie Homonoff
“My friend, Bobbi Rietz, and I have both visited Auschwitz. With this as background, we thought the Auschwitz exhibit was an exceedingly worthwhile experience and complemented that of visiting the actual site where so much cruelty and heartbreak took place. The exhibit was extremely well done and impressive in its meticulous treatment of one of if not the most tragic episode in human history—the Holocaust. Would certainly recommend it! Thanks to Iowa Jewish Historical Society for affording us the opportunity to visit the exhibit.” — Edward Loeb, M.D.
“One word I would use to describe this exhibition is shocked. The exhibit brought a whole new view to the Holocaust and Auschwitz that I have never experienced before. The anecdotes and artifacts were so surreal and eye opening.” — Hailey Homonoff (high school student)
“I was shocked. The explanations and papers referring to the different labels and symbols used for all the inmates were powerful, but so sad.” Mia Blumberg (high school student)