Schindler exhibit travels to labor, industry museum

By Tracey D’Astolfo

Photos and documents, maps and text comprise the exhibition.

Oskar Schindler was an industrialist and Nazi party member who saved the lives of more than 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust by harboring them in his factories. His story was made widely known in the 1993 film “Schindler’s List.”

A national traveling exhibition coming to Youngstown this week will further educate Americans about the man who stood up for principles while risking his own life.

Organized by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, “Schindler” opens Wednesday and runs through Oct. 22 at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry Labor (the Steel Museum). Youngstown State University’s Center of Judaic and Holocaust Studies arranged for the exhibit’s stop here.

“The Schindler exhibition provides us with an opportunity to not only learn about the horrors of the Holocaust and what can happen when racism is allowed to spread unchecked, but also to engage in the story of an individual who despite the danger, saved lives,” said Helene J. Sinnreich, director of Judaic and Holocaust Studies at YSU.

The exhibit consists of 12 free-standing panels featuring reproductions of photographs and documents, maps, text panels, object labels and a flip book with the list of people saved by Oskar Schindler.

“Because ours is a museum of industry and labor, it ties into Schindler’s status as an industrialist who used his factory to shield Jewish people from the death camps,” explained Nancy Haraburda, site manager of the Youngstown Historical Center. “We’re pleased to be hosting the exhibit at our museum because it is such a good fit with our other World War II-era collections.”

“Kilroy was Here! The 1940s Revisited” exhibit, which captures what life was like on the home front during World War II, is currently on display. The museum also houses artifacts from the Mahoning Valley steel industry, which saw its greatest growth from the 1940s to the 1960s.

To complement the Schindler exhibition, the Center for Judaic and Holocaust Studies is showing free screenings of the Academy Award-winning movie “Schindler’s List” at the Kilcawley Center on the YSU campus Tuesday and Wednesday.

Also scheduled are three free lectures on the YSU campus. Cantor Moshe Taube, a Holocaust survivor who worked in one of Schindler’s factories, will speak at the first lecture. Sinnreich will present “Beyond Schindler: The Other Jews of the Krakow Ghetto,” at the second lecture, and Dr. Thomas Leary, co-director of the Center for Applied History at YSU, will present the third lecture, “Slaves for the Wehrmacht: Forced Labor During the Holocaust.”

The “Schindler” exhibit is currently on display at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, and will travel to West Texas A M University after leaving Youngstown.

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