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US Holocaust Memorial Traveling Exhibit Comes to Boulder

A broad coalition of community organizations have come together to bring a traveling exhibition from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, DC titled “Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945” to Boulder. This exhibition will be on display April 21 through May 22 at the Boulder Public Library (1001 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, CO 80302).

Thousands of homosexuals perished at the hands of the Nazis in concentration camps along with six million Jews and other victims including, Roma (Gypsies), Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and people with disabilities during World War II and the Holocaust. The USHMM created this traveling exhibition to tell this important story in communities throughout the U.S.

Through reproductions of 250 historic photographs and documents, “Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945” examines the rationale, means, and impact of the Nazi regime’s attempt to eradicate homosexuality, which left thousands dead and shattered the lives of countless victims of the Nazi era. A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity.

The exhibition is self-guided, open to the public and free of charge. Groups are welcome to tour the exhibit – no RSVP is needed. The exhibition is open during regular Boulder Public Library hours.

Please join Out Boulder and co-sponsors on Thursday, April 21 at 5 PM for the Opening Reception at the Boulder Public Library Auditorium and Art Gallery.

The Boulder Jewish Community Center will generously provide kosher-for-Passover refreshments. Professor David Shneer will provide opening remarks. Dr. David Shneer is Associate Professor, History and Director of the Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Called a “taboo-breaking scholar” by Tikkun magazine, Shneer’s work concentrates on modern Jewish society and culture. His books include “Queer Jews,” finalist for the Lambda Literary award, “Yiddish and the Creation of Soviet Jewish Culture,” finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, and “New Jews: The End of the Jewish Diaspora,” that has sparked discussion in publications like the Economist and the Jerusalem Post. His newest book, Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, & the Holocaust,” looks at the lives and works of two dozen World War II Soviet military photographers to examine what kinds of photographs they took when they encountered evidence of Nazi genocide on the Eastern Front.

Several community events related to the exhibition will be held between April and May. Below is a calendar of community events associated with the presentation of the exhibition. These community events are using the exhibition as a backdrop for raising questions of social and political policy and urgency that have echoes with 1930s Nazi Germany. While these programs will not compare what happened in Nazi Germany to the contemporary American political landscape, we encourage you to attend these programs to memorialize the Nazi persecution of  homosexuals. Additional information on events can be found at www.outboulder.org

Wednesday, April 20 – Keshet’s 3rd Annual Queer SEDER at University of Denver Hillel (2390 S Race St), Denver, 6pm.
Join LGBT and allied Jews and friends as we celebrate Passover with Colorado’s 3rd Annual Queer Seder on the third night of Passover. Join us even if you’re already doing a first or second-night seder. RSVP to Alex Marcus, 303.691.3562. $25 Adults; $15 students and teens; free for kids 12 and under. Payment required in advance. Presented by Keshet (formerly known as Jewish Mosaic), Birthright Israel NEXTDenver, Congregation Har HaShem and Hillel of Colorado. Co-sponsored by: Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado, The Center: Advancing LGBT Colorado, DU’s Center for Multicultural Excellence, Feldman Mortuary, Hazon, Judaism Your Way, Temple Emanuel, and Temple Micah. Interested in volunteering at the seder? Contact alex@keshetonline.org.

Tuesday, April 26 – Boulder ADAPT and Out Boulder Discussion of the Institutionalization, Isolation and Social Marginalization of People with Disabilities and the LGBTQ Community
Creek Room, Boulder Public Library 5:30 to 6:30pm
Today people with disabilities in the United States face forced institutionalization because of physical and mental disabilities. This social isolation and segregation is something we share with other marginalized Americans particularly those from the LGBTQ community. During this time of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum presentation of “The Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals;” Boulder ADAPT encourages you to join our dialogue about the imposed institutionalization and isolation that still impacts our lives today. We will remember the T-4 forced euthanasia of people with disabilities by Nazi persecution and how our public policy still prefers the Disability Community “out of sight.” ADAPT is a national grass-roots community that organizes disability rights activists to engage in nonviolent direct action, including civil disobedience, to assure the civil and human rights of people with disabilities to live in freedom.

Thursday, April 28 – Queer Jews Panel at CU
Boulder’s Center for Community, Room S350 6:30 to 8pm
What does it mean to be both Queer and Jewish? Please join us as several Queer Jews share their story. We will then open it up for audience questions and discussion.

Thursday, May 12 – Maria Krenz – Child Holocaust Survivor and author of “Made in Hungary: A Life Forged by History” will talk in the Boulder Creek Room, Boulder Public Library 6:30 to 8pm
“Made in Hungary” is a memoir of resilience. Born during a bombing raid in 1944, Maria Krenz’s childhood in Budapest traversed the tumultuous years from the Holocaust through the Soviet occupation to the year following the Hungarian Revolution, when she and her mother fled to Venezuela. She survived with her fierce spirit intact, and over time, grew hungry to understand the larger historical context of her early years. This book is the result, a poignant personal and family story imbued with history. Maria Krenz spent her first thirteen years in Budapest, and made her way to the United States in 1964. She worked as a writer/editor and administrator at the National Center for Atmospheric Research before her retirement. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Tuesday, May 17 – The Intersectionality of Reproductive Rights and LGBT Liberation
Boulder Creek Room, Boulder Public Library 6:30 to 8pm
In memory of those persecuted by the Nazis’ “Office for the Combating of Abortion and Homosexuality,” please join us as we begin the discussions regarding the connections between reproductive rights and LGBT liberation in contemporary America. Panelists will present comprehensive viewpoints connecting the two movements, and we will then open it up for questions and conversation. The panel includes Boulder Native Lorena Garcia, Executive Director of COLOR (Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights), Susan Levy, Executive Director of Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center; and Cathy Busha and Aicila Lewis, Co-Executive Directors of Out Boulder.

Wednesday, May 18 –  Screening of Ballot Measure 9 followed by discussion led by Dr. Glenda Russell and Donna Red Wing (invited) – Lafayette Public Library (775 West Baseline Road), 6 to 8pm.
In 1992, while Colorado was facing Amendment 2, Oregon was fighting Ballot Measure 9 – another virulently anti-gay initiative. 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of both of these measures. A revealing and spirited documentary, “Ballot Measure 9”takes a frightening look at a persistent and growing lack of tolerance in America. Utilizing dehumanizing tactics, efforts are made by the conservative Oregon Citizens’ Alliance to revoke “special rights” from homosexuals during the 1992 presidential election. Director Heather MacDonald creates a sense of urgency and tension while covering all sides of this issue. She includes segments of anti-gay films produced by the Alliance, as well as interviews with those who fought its passage. The film captures the emotional turmoil by outraged gays and lesbians as well as the outrageous claims of the religious right. If nothing else, this documentary provides irrefutable proof of the power of grassroots community organizing… (review adapted from Rochelle O’Gorman).

Following the screening, Dr. Glenda Russell and Donna Red Wing (invited) will share their experiences of working against the passage of Amendment 2 and Ballot Measure 9, respectively. Donna Red Wing is featured in the film, “Ballot Measure 9. We will talk about where we have been as a movement, and almost 20 years after Amendment 2 and Ballot Measure 9, where we are headed.

For more information on the exhibition, or to donate towards the cost of presenting this exhibition, please contact:

  • Cathy Busha, Co-Executive Director at Out Boulder, cbusha@outboulder.org or 303-499-5777.
  • Kathryn Bernheimer, Boulder Jewish Community Center Cultural Arts Program and Director and Director of Menorah: Arts, Culture and Education at the Boulder JCC, kathryn@boulderjcc.org or 303-998-1021
  • Dr. David Shneer, Associate Professor, History and Director of the Program in Jewish Studies, University of Colorado, Boulder, David.Shneer@Colorado.EDU or 303-492-7143

We are also seeking volunteers to help set up and take down the exhibition, as well as volunteers to be available to talk with people at the exhibition in a docent-like capacity. To volunteer, please email cbusha@outboulder.org.

To view the online exhibit: www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/hsx/

SPONSORING ORGANIZATIONS INCLUDE:

  • Out Boulder, Connecting Boulder County’s LGBT Community since 1994
  • Boulder Public Library
  • City of Boulder Human Relations Commission
  • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Keshet
  • Boulder Jewish Community Center
  • Anti-Defamation League, Boulder
  • PFLAG Boulder County
  • Boulder Valley Safe Schools Coalition
  • Lambda Community Center, Fort Collins
  • CU Boulder’s GLBT Resource Center
  • Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center
  • Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights
  • CU Boulder Jewish Affairs
  • CU Boulder Hillel
  • CU LGBT Jewish Union
  • Bent Lens Cinema
  • CU Program in Jewish Studies
  • CU Boulder LGBT Studies Certificate Program
  • Boulder ADAPT
  • Lafayette Cesar Chavez Celebration
  • LGBT Programs, Boulder County Aging Services Division

This is the first time the exhibition will be displayed in Colorado. Thank you to the City of Boulder’s Human Relations Commission for their financial support toward the cost of bringing the exhibition.

About Jamie Polliard

Assistant Director of the Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder

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