A relevant history lesson about individual responsibility in the prevention of genocide, supported by the Sonoma State University School of Social Sciences Center for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, is open to the public through Dec. 13 as the Petaluma Historical Library and Museum presents Schindler, The Exhibition daily in the century old Carnegie Library building at 20 4th St. in the historic downtown area.
The exhibition, organized and circulated by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., shows in the only Northern California engagement to date through the efforts of the Petaluma Museum Association's new president, Joe Noriel and unstinting help from the SSU Center, especially Director Myrna Goodman and School of Social Sciences Dean Elaine Leeder.
The exhibit is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday and from noon to 3 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.
According to Noriel, the involvement and support provided by the School of Social Sciences at SSU, the Center for the Study for the Holocaust and Genocide, B'Nai Israel Jewish Center and Rabbi Ted Feldman, the Jewish Community Foundation and individuals like Gordon and Ann Blumenfeld made all the difference in the Museum's efforts to secure the exhibition and to give it the proper context.
It tells the inspirational story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman credited with saving the lives of more than 1,000 Polish Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.
In addition the financial and logistical support provided by the SSU School of Social Sciences, other community organizations and the Museum prompted the City of Petaluma to recognize by special proclamation Nov. 9 as Holocaust Remembrance Day in "honor of the survivors, rescuers and liberators and to urge all residents to overcome intolerance and indifference through learning and remembrance," according to Noriel.
The Nov. 9 date commemorated the 71st anniversary of "Kristallnacht," or the "Night of the Broken Glass," which represents the date in 1938 generally recognized as the start of the Holocaust, when the Nazis unleashed a wave of organized violence against Germany's Jews.
Among the special events and displays taking place at the Museum in conjunction with the exhibition, are the "Holocaust Survivor Recollections," which feature special presentations by area survivors with compelling stories to share.
The series features Ruth Gumpel on Nov. 21 at 3 p.m. and Al and Suzanne Batzdorff on Nov. 25 at 11 a.m. On Nov. 22 at 2 p.m., the Harmonia Schvesters present traditional music.
In addition to the survivor presentations, the supporting organizations aided Noriel in expanding the exhibit to include period music and Holocaust art. Artifacts on display include armbands, newspapers, apparel and artwork created by survivors and children of the Holocaust. Tours for school groups are also available.
For more information about Schindler: The Exhibition and the Petaluma Historical Library and Museum, call (707) 778-4398 or visit www.PetalumaMuseum.com on the web.
To learn more about the SSU Center for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, visit www.sonoma.edu/holocaust/.
ABOVE: Schindler, The Exhibition is on view daily through Dec. 13 in the Carnegie Library building at 20 4th St. in the historic Petaluma downtown area.