US Holocaust Memorial Museum urges New Englanders to donate Holocaust-era artifacts

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The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is in a “race against time” to collect evidence of the Holocaust, urging New Englanders to donate artifacts before the last generation of survivors disappears.

With the wartime generation dwindling, the museum attempts to salvage as many Holocaust-era documents, photos, films, and other materials as possible while the artifacts are still there.

“We’re really in a race against time to collect Holocaust artifacts,” said former Boston city councilman Mike Ross, whose late father Stephan survived 10 concentration camps and was freed by soldiers. American soldiers in Dachau, Germany.

“He (Stephan) talked about what he went through and told the story of the Holocaust,” Ross added. “But the problem with any historical event is that it fades from memory, and the Holocaust is not as well known to young people today.”

Objects that document the Holocaust help the museum teach this story to each new generation.

The Holocaust-era photographs and artifacts are evidence of the “worst crime humans have ever committed against other humans in human history,” Ross said.

He said he knows how difficult it can be for a family to hand over their belongings. But it’s important to donate these artifacts to the museum for a larger purpose, he added.

“We’re asking people to give these memories and these connections to their families, and there’s no one better to give them to than this museum,” said Ross, a former museum board member.

Fred Wasserman, curator of acquisitions for the museum’s National Holocaust Documentation Institute, said they believe there is a lot of material in Boston and New England.

“Cumulatively, it adds a lot of nuance and detail to the Holocaust story,” Wasserman said. “It personalizes her greatly.”

On Wednesday, the museum will present a live virtual program for New England residents as part of its efforts to salvage evidence of the Holocaust. They will offer participants from New England and the Northeast region the opportunity to schedule personal meetings to discuss donating artifacts to the museum, contributing oral testimony, or requesting assistance with seek family destiny.

To confirm your attendance for the free program from noon to 1 p.m., pre-registration is required by logging on to ushmm.org/events/new-england-collections.

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