Holocaust Remembrance Day: JFCS Holocaust Center gives ABC7 News a tour of the archives

ByJulian Glover Localish logo
Tuesday, May 14, 2024
Holocaust Remembrance Day: Tour through JFCS Holocaust Center archive
JFCS Holocaust Center in San Francisco gives ABC7 News a tour of the archive as we honor Holocaust Remembrance Day.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Communities across the U.S. are remembering the atrocities of one of the worst acts of genocide in modern history for Holocaust Remembrance Day. But for the Jewish Family and Children's Services Holocaust Center in San Francisco, teaching the history of those events is what they do everyday.

"Each one of these gray boxes holds a story. One family's life, one story of perpetration of dehumanization, but also stories of survival and stories of hope and resilience," said Morgan Blum Schneider Director of the Jewish Family and Children's Services Holocaust Center.

The JFCS Holocaust Center is dedicated to learning, educating, researching and remembering the horrors of the Holocaust.

Inside each gray box are impeccably preserved artifacts keeping the history of the millions of Jews killed in the Holocaust alive today.

"This is a Star of David that the Jews in the Netherlands had to wear sewn onto their clothing," Blum Schneider showed ABC7 News. "Every child over the age of five had to have a star affixed to their jacket."

Blum Schneider and her colleagues use these items to help teachers teach and students learn about the Holocaust - reaching more than 100,000 people in schools each year.

Sharing these personal stories of persecution and survival is so important as the world marks nearly 80 years since the end of World War II.

"Our Holocaust survivor generation is sunsetting. We are on the horizon of a time when first hand witnesses of the Holocaust will no longer be alive," said Blum Schneider.

The average age of Holocaust survivors is now upwards of 85-years-old.

But many of those survivors are not slowing down - sharing their stories of resilience in classrooms across California at a time when acts of antisemitism are on a drastic rise, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

"Holocaust education is anti-Semitism education," said Blum Schneider. "A truly dynamic curriculum includes survivor testimony. It includes primary source documents, it includes activities that really help the students investigate and build their critical thinking skills."