Child from Roth, Germany, in "A Reason to Remember"
A Reason to Remember: A Traveling Exhibit of the Hatikvah Holocaust Education Center of Springfield, Massachusetts
West Alcove, Homer Babbidge Library
Curator: Laura Smith
“A Reason to Remember” tells the story of the five Jewish families who lived in the small village of Roth, Germany, and details what happened to them during the Nazi era. The demise of this tiny Jewish community is chronicled using primary source materials as well as eyewitness testimonies. The exhibit illustrates how relations between these families and their neighbors were systematically dismantled.
Roth’s Jewish community had everything needed to sustain Jewish life, including a synagogue, kosher meat, a mikvah for ritual immersion, a teacher who taught the Hebrew language and Jewish religion, and a Jewish cemetery. Despite their religious differences, the Jews of Roth were well integrated into the life of the village. Their children attended school with Christian children. They participated fully in local cultural and recreational activities and did business with their neighbors. The men had served in the German army during World War I.
The destruction of the Jewish community occurred in stages. Documents reveal in detail what happened to these families as well as the complexity of the process of annihilation. It began with the segregation of Roth’s Jews and evolved into their being removed from the local economy, the confiscation of their property and assets, and their deportation. Ultimately, all those deported from Roth perished in Theresienstadt, Auschwitz/Birkenau, or Stutthof.
This traveling exhibit, from the Hatikvah Holocaust Education Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, illustrates that bigotry and intolerance continue to exist and give us a reason to remember.
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