It started with an email from Richard Bodziner, “Do you know anything about the ‘Hate Ends Now’ tour?” Along with the query was a brochure describing the project originally created by Shadowlight whose mission is to “enable people of all ages, especially students, to connect to the Holocaust on a personal level, both emotionally and physically and inspire them to make a positive impact on the current world through infusing them with a sense of reasonability and empowerment.”
A pretty lofty mission statement. It all started when Jordana Lebowitz participated in March of the Living when she was 16, followed by placements at the Museum of Tolerance in California; the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Australia, the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights in Montreal and the Holocaust Outreach program at the UN Headquarters in New York.
As a first-year student (2015) at the University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada) she volunteered to chair the Hillel Holocaust Education Week. She and a group of her peers decided that they would locate a cattle car, like the ones used to transport Jews and other minority groups to concentration, labor, and death camps during the Holocaust, and bring it to the campus. After an exhaustive search and ready to give up, she found an exact replica of a German Cattle car which was brought to campus where they lined the walls with pictures and words describing the unimaginable atrocities that took place during the Holocaust, with each wall representing a different era.
Over 2,000 people toured the exhibit during the week. Endless feedback on social media demonstrated the extent of the impact.
Thus was the genesis of the Hate Ends Now: The Cattle Car Experience which will be here in Savannah for three days this month (you can read more and sign up for a tour at www.savj.org/hate-ends-now-tour) on May 15-17. In a brief 22 minutes, the exhibit showcases a moving collection of imagery and footage dating from 1933-1945. Included are recorded documentaries of Holocaust survivors such as Hedy Bohm describing their inhumane experiences on those days in the cattle car. Participants feel the development and aftermath of the Holocaust as well as a presentation of current instances of discrimination and intolerance.
Hate Ends Now explores the behaviors of Nazi leadership and ordinary people who committed or witnessed crimes of indifference, providing participants with an opportunity to reflect on the ways they can take a stand against the hatred shown towards Jewish people and other groups today.
This program, which was brought to us through NCSY Savannah, is a partnership between NCSY, Savannah Jewish Federation, Congregation Bnai Brith Jacob, and the JEA. It is all made possible thanks to the Dena Yaschik Bodziner Memorial Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Savannah.
It is fashionable for Savannahians to wait until the last moment to make an rsvp for an event. We want our community to have the opportunity to experience Hate Ends Now: The Cattle Car Experience. Make your reservation today.
Shabbat Shalom & Happy Mothers Day