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Michal_KNKX_Passing-the-torchHear Legacy Speaker, Michal Lotzkar, in a personal interview about her journey to learn her father’s Holocaust story and then work to present it as a part of the Speakers Bureau of the Holocaust Center for Humanity.

Michal is one of 10-12 children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors who have courageously stepped forward to bring these stories to classroom and community groups. Their stories were researched and vetted through the Holocaust Center for Humanity. Michal is a member of the Holocaust Center’s Speakers Bureau.

LISTEN NOW (11 min)

Interview by Gabriel Spitzer was aired on KNKX, August 26, 2017.

Learn more about the Speakers Bureau and Legacy Speakers - click here or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Lavie and Elbaum - 2016 receiving award at TechnionSAN FRANCISCO and NEW YORK (June 15, 2016) — Dr. George Elbaum of San Francisco, a businessman and aerospace engineer, who writes and speaks about his experience as a child survivor of the Holocaust, was awarded an Honorary Fellowship on June 5 from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. The ceremony took place during the Technion Board of Governors (BOG) meeting (June 4-8, 2016) on the university campus in Haifa.
Accompanied by his wife, Mimi Jensen, Dr. Elbaum was recognized for “devotion to the Technion and Israel . . . business accomplishments that have spanned the globe and bridged countries . . . and for sharing (your) story, in order to impart the message of tolerance to present and future generations.”

A steadfast supporter of the Technion and Israel, Dr. Elbaum is an active member of the American Technion Society (ATS) National Board of Directors, the ATS North Pacific Region Board and the Technion Board of Governors.

Together with his wife, he is a Technion Guardian — an honor reserved for those who support the Technion at the highest level. The couple has supported the Technion with gifts that include the George J. Elbaum Fund for the Satell Technion-MIT Leadership Program, the Whiteman International Foundation Fellowships (named after Dr. Elbaum's mother) in the Grand Technion Energy Program, and the Formula Student Race Car project.

Dr. Elbaum was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1938. As a child, he was smuggled out of the Warsaw ghetto and lived with a series of Polish families who hid him and his Jewish identity from the Nazis. Only he and his mother survived, as they lost 10 family members to the Holocaust. In 1949, Dr. Elbaum immigrated to the U.S., and in 1955 he enrolled at MIT, where he earned four degrees — a bachelor’s and a master’s in aeronautics and astronautics, along with a second master’s and a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering.
He began his career in Los Angeles in the aerospace industry, and then moved into the international business arena. In 1972, he co-founded Intertorg, a consulting firm representing American and European corporations in the Soviet Union (including General Motors, U.S. Steel, Reebok, etc.), where he marketed their products and services. After 25 years, he switched gears again, turning to commercial real estate investment and development.

In 2010, he wrote and published Neither Yesterdays Nor Tomorrows, a book of vignettes from his childhood during the Holocaust, and started speaking to student groups across the U.S. and in Poland about survival and tolerance. In 2014, he followed his first book with a second volume, Yesterdays Revisited, about the feedback/letters he’s received from students at the 100-plus venues where he’s spoken.

The five-day BOG meeting was comprised of award ceremonies and dedications, presentations by speakers that included Middle East expert Ambassador Dennis B. Ross, and other events such as an Innovation Panel Discussion, featuring Technion graduates such as Dov Moran, inventor of the DiskOnKey (USB flash drive). Other San Francisco-area participants included Ruth Owades and Lou Lenzen.

Photo: George Elbaum (right) receiving an Honorary Fellowship from Technion President Professor Peretz Lavie at an awards ceremony on the Haifa campus on June 5, 2016.

Bothell Reporter | July 12, 2017

Sixth-grader Anna Brown of the Cedar Park Christian School in Bothell was awarded third place in the middle-school art category of the Holocaust Center for Humanity’s 2017 Writing, Art, & Film Contest.

Anna’s piece is a work examining the role of the bystander in proliferating injustice. She will be honored in a community reception on Sunday, taking place at the Henry and Sandra Friedman Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle and will receive a monetary prize. Her work will be displayed at the Holocaust Center, at events and in publications throughout the year.

 

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By: Maggie Wilson, May 11, 2016

SEATTLE —Anne Frank lived in hiding, in the annex of an Amsterdam apartment, during Nazi occupation when she was a child.

“As long as this exists,” she wrote of the sun, blue sky and chestnut tree she would gaze at from the window, “how can I be sad?”

The white horse chestnut tree, weakened by disease, succumbed to a 2010 windstorm in the Netherlands. It was over 170 years old, according to The Sapling Project.

The Anne Frank House, with permission from the tree's owner, gathered chestnuts from the dying tree and germinated them, intending to donate resultant saplings.

An excerpt of a 1968 speech by Anne’s father, Otto Frank, is hosted on the Sapling Project’s site.

“How could I have known,” he asks, “how much it meant to Anne to see a patch of blue sky, to observe the seagulls as they flew, and how important the chestnut tree was for her, when I think that she never showed any interest in nature.”

A video uploaded by the Anne Frank House in 2009 shows views of the chestnut tree. Watch it here.

One of its saplings was planted in January in Seattle in Frank’s honor.

The Holocaust Center for Humanity in Belltown was one of 11 sites in the country selected to receive a sapling from the historic tree.

Ilana Cone Kennedy with the center said they were granted the chestnut sapling in 2009. The trees came from Amsterdam and required three years in quarantine in a special nursery.

“The little tree that came to Seattle was too small to plant in a public park,” Kennedy said. “Seattle Parks and Recreation has been nursing the tree in a greenhouse since 2013.”

The sapling was dedicated at Seattle Center’s Peace Garden. The Peace Garden is near the base of the Space Needle. The garden was planted in 1996.

A beloved feature of the garden is a Ceanothus impressus “Puget Blue,” which is covered with tiny blue flowers in early summer.

Recently, Seattle’s new Holocaust Center for Humanity welcomed a traveling exhibit honoring the memory of Anne Frank. One woman, Agi Day, reflected in Seattle this spring to KIRO 7 on the personal importance the Anne Frank display held for her.

“Just being in the Holocaust Center is reminiscent of many things for me,” said Day. “And Anne Frank, specifically, because I’ve been there in Amsterdam. And I, too, was a hidden child. Different story. But, again, a hidden child. … My mother, my sister, my grandmother were hidden in a convent, dressed as nuns. ... I was too young to be in the convent. So I was hidden with a Catholic family, a couple [with] no children. And they pretended I was a cousin from the countryside."

Kennedy, with the Holocaust Center for Humanity, said in the wake of a Seattle shooting at the Jewish Federation in 2006, people “from all walks of life” came together to show their support for the Jewish community and those impacted by the shooting.

In the shooting at Seattle's Jewish Federation building, six women were shot. One of them was killed.

Kennedy was working in the building that day -- and recalls being “incredibly moved by the outpouring of support.”

“In our application for the sapling,” Kennedy said, “we mentioned that this tree was not only one of hope and remembrance, but, in the spirit of Anne Frank, should serve as a reminder of what we can do when we put our differences aside and stand together.”

Of the Anne Frank exhibit in Seattle, Kennedy says every day people come to visit the display and are filled with their own questions and stories. The center has hosted thousands of students.

At the end of their tour, visitors are invited to leave comments on paper leaves and place them on a tree painted on the wall.

“The comments are moving and now cover the whole wall," Kennedy said. "One of them reads simply, 'We are all Anne Frank.' And another, 'I could invite the lonely kid that sits near us at lunch to come hang out with me and my friends.'"

Photographer Meryl Alcabes captured beautiful images from the sapling dedication ceremony. Click here to see them.

 

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Kent Reporter | July 6, 2017 

Kent Mountain View Academy juniors Joey Simanek and Naomi Knipp received honors at the Holocaust Center for Humanity’s 2017 Writing, Art, & Film Contest.

Simanek was awarded second place in the high school art category for his powerful work that uses hand-cut copper images to symbolize different aspects of activism.

Knipp received an honorable mention in the same category for his work depicting a woman shouting past the red hand of misogyny in order to fight the injustices women face.

In addition, eighth-grader Samantha Alfonso of Meridian Middle School received an honorable mention in the middle school essay category of the contest. Samantha’s piece, “I’m Sorry,” is a stirring call to protest injustice.

 

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April 3, 2016 | By Nicole Einbinder, Seattle Times Staff Reporter 

“Anne Frank, A History for Today,” about the Dutch teenager whose diary has become a symbol of Holocaust tragedy and of hope, has special meaning for writer and college student Nicole Einbinder.


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I will never forget listening to Anne Frank’s childhood friend describe the moment she threw food over the fence at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Nazi Germany.

Hannah Goslar and Anne Frank, longtime friends from prewar days in Holland, were separated in the camp by a barbed-wire fence. They couldn’t see each other, but they could talk.

And Anne told her friend that she was hungry.

As my group — UW students participating in a 10-day trip to Israel through Birthright Israel in the summer of 2014 — listened attentively in one of the auditoriums at Yad Vashem, the official memorial to the Holocaust in Jerusalem, the room was silent.

Goslar secretly collected food and clothes to throw to her friend in the dead of night. They met at the fence and Goslar threw the package into the air, into the unknown. On the other side, another prisoner, also desperate for food, grabbed it from the girl too weak to put up a fight.

At the age of 15, Anne Frank died of typhus in the camp, weeks before its liberation in 1945.

The pain in Goslar’s voice, decades after the Holocaust, will never leave me. The devastation, the looming question: “What if Anne had got the package?”

Posted on a wall of the “Anne Frank: A History for Today” exhibit in Seattle’s Holocaust Center for Humanity is a quote from Goslar: “It wasn’t the same Anne. She was a broken girl. It was terrible. She immediately began to cry, and she told me: ‘I don’t have any parents anymore.’ I always think, if Anne had known that her father was still alive, she might have had more strength to survive.”

On display until May 25, the traveling exhibit, developed by the Anne Frank House and sponsored by the Anne Frank Center USA, is a glimpse into the life of a girl considered to be a universal figure of the Holocaust, according to Ilana Cone Kennedy, education director at Seattle’s Holocaust Center.

“People are so connected to her because we can all relate to her in a way,” Kennedy explained. “She’s a very average teenager that we all get, and she’s totally innocent. She’s done nothing to deserve where she is, and she doesn’t survive.

“That’s the really horrible tragedy of it all,” she said.

The exhibit includes a timeline of Anne’s personal story juxtaposed with general Holocaust history, personal photographs of the family, a replica of her acclaimed diary, and a model of the attic and house where she hid for two years from the Nazis.

As I toured the exhibit on a rainy Seattle afternoon, it was difficult not to feel connected. I am Jewish; my grandfather’s cousin Mordecai Anielewicz was the leader of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, an act of Jewish resistance against Nazi efforts to transport the residents of the ghetto to the Treblinka extermination camp in occupied Poland.

But, I am also lucky. I was born in a time and place where I can express my faith freely and proudly. Anne, a normal girl who grew up in Amsterdam, who took photos with her family and loved to ice-skate and laugh and write, was not as fortunate.

“How resilient this young girl was and how she was able to create joy in her daily life and imagine a future,” said Karen Chachkes, the center’s strategic director, as we toured the exhibition. “She believed in life.”

Chachkes said that of the more than 100,000 Jews living in Holland during the Nazi regime, only about 5,000 survived.

The exhibit’s primary purpose is to educate the community, while reminding people that we all can make a difference in the world, Kennedy said. Around 60 school groups from across the state will be touring the center over the next couple of months.

“I think there is still so much hate in the world, I think there is still so much to learn, and I think so much has happened since the Holocaust in order to try to make these things not happen again,” Kennedy said. “And yet, when I see what’s going on in the world and people murdering each other for racist, extremist ideals so senselessly, you have to wonder: How can we stop this? What can we do so that people see each other as human beings?”

The Holocaust has so many names. There is Anne and her sister Margot and Mordecai and an infinite number of people who all had stories, who all had ears and eyes and hopes and dreams. In one quote on the timeline, Anne said that her dream was to be a journalist, and later a famous writer.

As an intern at The Seattle Times, I can definitely relate.

While the exhibit embodies humanity’s worst, it also exposes another truth: Margot laughing with a group of friends, Anne staring into the camera at school, a portrait of the family in their best attire.

They were more than a statistic, more than victims of the Holocaust.

“I was really surprised at how much I didn’t know and how moved I was by the way the exhibit is presented,” Kennedy said, pausing to add, “how humanizing it is.”

Snoqualmie Valley Record | May 31, 2017 

Sixth grade students at St. Louise School in Bellevue recently completed a six-week immersion study of the Holocaust, taught by Paula Patterson, of Carnation.

Patterson developed the in-depth program drawing from her experience at various conferences and workshops she takes to enhance her knowledge of genocide and the Holocaust. One of the most powerful workshops, she said, was the Eileen Ludwig Greenland Bearing Witness Summer Institute in Washington D.C., which she attended in 2014.

 

Read full articleCarnation teacher helps students to greater understanding of Holocaust

Stroum Center for Jewish Studies, University of Washington 
March 28, 2016 | By Katja Schatte | 
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Seattle’s recently inaugurated Holocaust Center for Humanity (HCH) demonstrates that teaching a bigger lesson does not have to come at the expense of representing a particular history. With its focus on the stories of local survivors, the center not only bridges the gap between the particular and the universal, it also demonstrates that the respect for, not the erasure of, particularity lies at the root of solidarity.

 

The Holocaust Center for Humanity’s own history is just as important as the history it represents. It leaves no doubt about how central the role of Holocaust memory and the fight against antisemitism are to its mission. Twenty-six years ago, a group of local survivors founded the center’s precursor, the Speakers’ Bureau, to tell their stories at local schools and universities in response to spreading Holocaust denial. Until this day, the Speakers’ Bureau and the recording of oral histories are vital parts of the Holocaust Center’s work.

However, in the face of diminishing numbers of survivors, the Center has come up with new ways to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive. But instead of giving in to what Professor Walter Reich calls “the itch to universalize,” the HCH continues to focus on the stories of Jewish survivors throughout its recently inaugurated exhibit. And instead of forcing the exhibit to choose between teaching about Jewish suffering during the Holocaust and teaching bigger lessons, the survivors’ stories accomplish both at the same time.

 

As Dee Simon, the Center’s Executive Director, summarizes it: “We learned that students learn best from stories. People learn best from stories. And the richest thing we have is the stories of survivors. That is what makes our museum unique: Holocaust stories from people who survived and came to live here.” As a result, the artifacts on display in the museum are also always “a symbol of someone’s story.”

 

The Center’s commitment to both preserving these artifacts and making them accessible becomes apparent in its cutting-edge archival infrastructure. After two major institutions, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington D.C. and the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, Seattle’s HCH is only the third institution in the United States to meet the strict preservation standards of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Collection in Oświęcim, Poland and thus has obtained artifacts from that collection. 

Just as important as the preservation and display of the artifacts is the content of the stories the museum tells with them. As Dee Simon explains, specific curatorial decisions ensure that human experiences of the Holocaust, rather than sanitized historical timelines, structure visitors’ experiences of the exhibit. With the exception of a few images from the USHMM, all objects in the HCH exhibit tell the stories of local survivors. Rather than presenting history from the perspective of informed hindsight, the exhibit guides visitors through the lived experiences of identification, exclusion, the turning point of Kristallnacht, flight and rescue, and the mass murder of European Jews in the ghettos and concentration and extermination camps across Europe. Survival, too, is presented as part of the narrative. Ultimately, the exhibit succeeds in answering the oft-asked question “But why did no one see it coming?” by helping visitors understand how members of the European Jewish community experienced history as it was happening. READ MORE

 

 

Oregonian/Oregon Live | June 7, 2017 | by Samantha Swindler 

Robert Holczer, 87, is a retired history and U.S. civics teacher who lives with his wife in a Vancouver, Washington, townhouse. It's a quiet life. He works in his garden, saying, "How could anyone live without flowers?" He sells and restores antiques, with a particular fondness for art nouveau pieces.

And occasionally, when someone asks, he'll tell his story as a Holocaust survivor.

 

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The Holocaust Center's Director of Education, Ilana Cone Kennedy, speaks with Margaret Larsen from King 5 New Day Northwest about the Holocaust Center's exhibit on Anne Frank and the planting of the Anne Frank tree sapling in Seattle.  

 

 NewDayNW

 

Click here to see the article and video on the New Day Northwest website. 

 

 

Huffington Post | June 7, 2017 | By Amy Pleasant, Contributor, Seattle Visual Artist and Writer

Seattle’s Holocaust Center for Humanity’s Writing/Art/Film Contest

Read article at Huffington Post

 

Artwork by Allyssa KallstromWhat American would have imagined, just a few years ago, that a sharp rise in hate crimes and racist rhetoric would become so commonplace as the undercurrent of racism in America has risen to the surface in the current political landscape. Targeted groups, including American Jews, have been singled out in a resurgence of an “us vs. them” mentality. According to the Anti-Defamation League antisemitic incidents rose 86% in the past year. ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblat released a statement in April 2016, “There’s been a significant, sustained increase in anti-Semitic activity since the start of 2016 and what’s most concerning is the fact that the numbers have accelerated over the past five months.” Anyone familiar with the events leading up to the Holocaust cannot help but pause and reflect. This growing nationalism and intolerance among certain segments of the population in the United States has sharpened the focus of many humanitarian and civil rights based organizations. In this divisive climate the rise of antisemitism has served as a clarion call for the holocaust centers and museums around the country. The echo of history serves as a supplication to the world to enact change so that everyone is respected regardless of color, creed, gender or sexuality.

 

The intent of Seattle’s Holocaust Center for Humanity is not only to act as a witness to the past, but to provide a means of engagement in a wider cause that promotes humanitarian values. In the words of director, Dee Simon, “Our Center teaches over 40,000 students a year to speak up for those who can not speak for themselves and to defend democracy by honoring all people.“ Like many other Jewish founded institutions, the Holocaust Center’s mission has become particularly relevant at this time in America. From its inception in 1989, it was understood that the key to holding the intent of “Never again” requires engaging the community at large and perhaps more importantly educating young people. The museum not only features historical information and artifacts of the Holocaust from local survivors, but loans “teaching trunks” full of curriculum and class sets of books free of charge to all teachers in the state of Washington. Speakers with first hand experience of the Holocaust are also available to classrooms and the on-site library and website are full of valuable resources. These important tools provide an important historical context in which to encourage tolerance and combat racism in today’s world.

 

A yearly Art/Film/Writing contest is an important part of this effort to engage young people and help them to make connections between the present and the past. The theme chosen this year was an especially relevant quote by Elie Wiesel, “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”

According to Ilana Cone Kennedy, Director of Education, “The topic this year was particularly timely considering our presidential election. (The topic was selected prior to the election.) Students were eager to express themselves and to consider ways in which each individual has opportunities to stand up for what they believe - sometimes in quiet ways and sometimes in loud and bold actions.” Kennedy believes that the relevance of the topic helped propel the participation among students. This year there were a record-breaking 912 entries from students of many backgrounds and nationalities representing 73 schools within Washington State.

 

This contest not only supports the mission of the Holocaust Center, but has had a significant impact on several of the participants. A former writing winner, Mohammed, was invited to speak and share his family’s own story of fleeing his home country at the Holocaust Center’s annual luncheon. Individuals in attendance offered him mentorships and he was able to secure a scholarship to Seattle University. He is currently continuing his education at Stanford. Aava, one of the first place writing winners donated her prize money to a humanitarian organization which supports the education of girls and recent graduate, Penny Rhines, a two time visual art winner is currently working on a novel about the Holocaust. She also served as one of the judges of this year’s art entries.

 

The Holocaust Center considers the Writing, Art and Film Contest to be one of the highlights of the year. In Kennedy’s words, “It is incredible to see the work that students are doing and how they are relating the difficult lessons of the Holocaust to their own lives and to the world today.” Perhaps its best said by 8th grader, Sarah Mercedes, in a statement attached to an art piece: “Many people feel silenced by society. It can be because of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexuality. But protest is one of the ways to be heard, to peel away what silences us. When we stand together and speak the truth we will become leaders, shining light in the darkness.” If these students’ strong voices are any indication, it is heartening that the future of our democracy will be in good hands.

 

Winning writing and films, artwork and statements can be found here.

Survivor Laureen NussbaumBy Jennifer Wing.  LISTEN

An exhibit about the life of Anne Frank is currently on view at the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle. It’s called, "Anne Frank: A History For Today." When it closes at the end of May, two strong connections to Anne Frank will remain in Seattle.

If you go to the exhibit, you will see large panels, about seven feet tall, lining the walls.They are split in half. The top has photos and text that chronicle the rise of Adolf Hitler, the Nazi Party and the horrors of the Holocaust. The lower half of the panels is all about Anne Frank and her family.

The Frank timeline begins with joyful pictures of weddings, the smiling faces of a young Anne and her sister Margot — happy times. Ilana Cone Kennedy is the center’s education director.

“I like that, because I feel like you kind of need to see where people are before the Holocaust starts in order to understand how their lives change once the world started changing,” said Cone Kennedy.

The exhibit shows how Otto Frank, Anne’s father, made the shrewd decision to leave Germany right away and move to the Netherlands.

“And so the Netherlands didn't come into the war until many years later and so the juxtaposition of the Holocaust history and what’s going on in the Netherlands is really interesting because you see pictures of Anne and Margot on the beach while other people are being deported in other countries.” READ MORE | LISTEN

Tahae Sugita (right), a Japanese-American soldier with the 522nd Field Artillery battalion, stands next to a concentration camp survivor he has just liberated on a death march from Dachau. (Courtesy USHMM/Eric Saul)The Times of Israel | May 29, 2017 | By Rich Tenorio 

Troops who rescued death march survivors honored on 75th anniversary of WWII order that forced Japanese-Americans into camps.

Events across the United States, including in Seattle, are honoring the the Japanese-Americans of the 522nd who rescued Jewish survivors of a Dachau subcamp and death marches.

 

[Excerpt Below. Read Full Article]

 

The soldiers were from a unique American unit — the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. It was the only unit in the US armed forces during World War II whose enlisted men were all of Japanese ancestry.

 

Events across the US are honoring the Japanese-Americans of the 522nd who rescued Jewish survivors of a Dachau subcamp and death marches. The brave soldiers’ recognition is tied to another observance of sorts: This year marks 75 years since Executive Order 9066, under which a suspicious US government at war with Japan relocated Japanese-Americans — citizens and non-citizens alike — to sites now called “internment camps.” In an ironic twist, Japanese-Americans who rescued Jews from Dachau often had family members in US “concentration camps,” as they were called back then.

 

On April 30 in Seattle, the 522nd was the subject of “Japanese American Soldiers and the Liberation of Dachau,” the culminating event of a three-part series, “The Holocaust and Japanese American Connections,” initiated by 442nd veteran Tosh Okamoto. Partners included Seattle’s Holocaust Center for Humanity, the Nisei Veterans Committee, the University of Washington Department of American Ethnic Studies, and the Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle.

 

“Being a community activist, many of our fellow Americans know about the Holocaust, but few know about the Japanese and [Japanese Americans’] relatively small part in the Holocaust [narrative],” Okamoto, 90, wrote in an email. “[It] seemed to me that the Holocaust horrible story is not getting the interest it should, therefore adding the Japanese part could add to the Holocaust [narrative], in some shape or form.”

 

Okamoto, who did not serve with the 522nd, was a late replacement with the 442nd in war-ravaged Italy in 1945, after the conflict had ended.

 

“I wanted to volunteer, but [my] mother [told] not me to do so,” he wrote. “[My] father had a severe heart attack while we were in what our [government] called ‘relocation centers’ but really were concentration camps. So after Dad recovered [somewhat], I was drafted. Dad was disabled for [the] rest of his life.”

 

The first two events in the Seattle program addressed concentration camps in Europe and the US, as well as Japanese Consul Chiune Sugihara, who saved thousands of Lithuanian Jews from the Holocaust.

 

The concluding event coincided with Holocaust Remembrance Day. The master of ceremonies was Ken Mochizuki, author of the children’s book “Passage to Freedom: the Sugihara Story.” He was a featured speaker at the Sugihara event.


“Amazingly, the [522nd] event became like a confluence of history, with those in the audience including a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, a woman raised in Amsterdam who knew Anne Frank’s family, and a veteran of the US 42nd Rainbow Division which liberated Dachau’s main camp,” Mochizuki wrote in an email.

 

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Anne Frank DiaryWhen my older daughter finished reading chapter 1 of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, she looked up at me and said, “I’m so depressed.”

“I know!” I said. “To think such a good writer only had the chance to write this book, and to die like that.”

“Exactly,” she replied.

This weekend I plan on taking both of my daughters to see the traveling exhibit Anne Frank: A History for Today at the Henry and Sandra Friedman Holocaust Center for Humanity in downtown Seattle. On display through May 18, 2016, this exhibit presents a history of the Holocaust through Anne’s life story. (It was developed by the Anne Frank House and is sponsored in North America by The Anne Frank Center USA.

“Even if you know her story, it personalizes her and gives the situational context as she was writing her diary,” says Ilana Cone Kennedy, the center’s director of education.

Frank's story is told timeline style. Each panel is split in half: the top tells Holocaust history while the bottom shows what was happening with the Frank family at that same time.

This is just a fabulous exhibit. I have to tell you, we had so many people come through on our first day,” says Kennedy. “Anne Frank is a universal human figure of this very terrible time period who suffered for no good reason. We’ve made her larger than life, but really she’s just a regular kid, a 13-year-old girl who’s thoughtful and a little annoying and she doesn’t like her mom.”

Although the museum's core exhibit is not displayed while the Anne Frank exhibit is up (read a review here), some artifacts from local survivors are still on display. While the center officially recommends the Anne Frank exhibit for fifth graders and up, Kennedy has seen parents show certain pieces of the exhibit to second and third graders and believes parents can judge if their children are ready to learn some of this story.

“Ultimately, we are learning to respect our differences, how we need to help each other and that our own individual choices matter. We don’t live in our own bubble. We have to extend a hand to each other and speak out when we see intolerance,” says Kennedy.

When you visit, the center’s staff are on hand to give parents and children the contextual context needed to understand Holocaust history. Kennedy encourages parents to ask for resources. GO TO ARTICLE

Click here for King 5 Video

"Never forget” is a phrase often uttered after horrific tragedies, but at the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle, there’s a fear the world is forgetting after recent comments from a prominent White House staffer.

“You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” the White House press secretary said on Tuesday when he compared Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Adolf Hitler, and apologized later: “I got into a topic I shouldn’t have, and I screwed up. I hope people understand we all make mistakes.”

Though Sean Spicer apologized soon after his eyebrow-raising remarks, some are wondering if the mistake is a sign of a larger societal symptom: Ignorance about the Holocaust.

“Best case scenario: Spicer has a tenuous grasp of history. And worst case: he’s sort of feeding into denial, which I think is a rising issue now. As time moves on and the survivors pass, we're getting further and further from the history,” Holocaust Center for Humanity executive director Dee Simon said.

The Center has a canister of Zyklon B from Auschwitz. Nazis used the cyanide-based pesticide to kill about one million people in extermination camp gas chambers, according to Simon.

Since the comments on Tuesday, museum goers are giving the canister some added attention.

“It was a highly poisonous insecticide used to kill over a million Jews and other victims,” Judyth Weaver, of Seattle, said, reading the exhibition card.

She brought her three grandchildren to see the Curious George exhibit at the museum.

“I think the younger generation is losing touch with a lot of things, the Holocaust being one of them,” Weaver said.

Her grandchild Celia, 10, says many of her friends do not know about the Holocaust: “but since I am half Jewish, then they learned about some of it. But some people just don't really care about it or don't want to learn more about it.”

More than 40 states, including Washington, do not legally require school districts teach students about the Holocaust, though some may recommend it.

“They get Hitler confused with Stalin -- it’s shocking,” Simon said of some high school and college students’ knowledge of the Holocaust.

Holocaust Remembrance Day is Monday, April 24. On Sunday, April 23, the Holocaust Center for Humanity is having two survivors talk about their experiences in an effort to keep their stories alive.

© 2017 KING-TV

"The impact of [Elie Wiesel's] legacy continues in our Seattle community at the Holocaust Center for Humanity which upholds his dedication to promote and teach citizenship and tolerance through the lessons of the Holocaust."

Representative Adam Smith, Washington's Ninth District

Continued Support for Our Jewish Community

After Holocaust Remembrance Day, I spent time reflecting on the invaluable role Jewish-Americans play in the 9th Congressional District and our society as a whole. Their unique experiences, including their persecution during the Holocaust, continue to teach us how important it is to remember history’s lessons so that we do not repeat our most egregious mistakes.

On January 27, 2017 we commemorated the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. This commemoration was a time for us to all to reflect on the dangers of hate and to reaffirm our commitment to fight for an inclusive and tolerant world.

On February 1, 2017, I ensured that my words also created concrete actions. I cosponsored H.Res. 78 which reiterated the indisputable fact that the Nazi regime targeted the Jewish people in its perpetration of the Holocaust. This piece of legislation calls on every entity of the executive branch to affirm this fact.

While the Holocaust destroyed millions of lives, it also created heroes that we should all look to for guidance. One such hero was Elie Wiesel. Recently, I had the privilege to honor Elie’s contributions to the Jewish-American community by submitting a letter of remembrance to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s tribute to Elie. His memory lives on through his countless books that depict his childhood experiences with the Holocaust. When he was just 15, his entire family was abducted and taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp; Elie was the only member of his family to survive. After liberation, Elie became an advocate for human and civil rights, from his support for Nicaragua’s Miskito Indians to his founding role of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1993. The impact of his legacy continues in our Seattle community at the Holocaust Center for Humanity which upholds his dedication to promote and teach citizenship and tolerance through the lessons of the Holocaust.

I look forward to continuing my support of our Jewish-American community in every way that I can, from further legislation to increased outreach and awareness.

 

 

 

King 5 Anne FrankSEATTLE -- A traveling Holocaust exhibit which explores the life and death of Anne Frank and challenges visitors to examine their own views of others is making a stop in Seattle.

 

The Holocaust Center for Humanity is hosting Anne Frank: A History for Today through May 18.

 

The exhibit, created by The Anne Frank Center USA, delves into scenes of the Holocaust through Frank’s observations which she recorded as a teenager while she was in hiding in Amsterdam in the early 1940s.

 

“There’s something so human about this story,” said Karen Chachkes, strategic director for the Holocaust Center for Humanity. “She was just a child and her revelations are at once childlike and very, very prescient.” ...READ MORE & WATCH VIDEO

Director of Education Ilana Cone Kennedy​ talks about the Holocaust Center for Humanity​'s upcoming exhibit, Holocaust Remembrance Day, and more... On KING 5​ New Day Northwest with Margaret Larsen. 

CuriousGeorgeNewDayVideo1

 

 

Holocaust survivor: Childhood on the run

By Jennie McGhan

GRANDVIEW — It’s not every little boy who has to run from soldiers looking to destroy him, his family and his entire race. Peter Metzelaar did, however. 
Between the ages of 5 and 10, he was among the millions of Jews in Europe hunted by Nazi Germany. “I was much too young to understand,” Metzelaar told fifth graders at Harriet Thompson Elementary School yesterday....  Read more by clicking on the link below:
http://www.dailysunnews.com/news/2015/dec/08/holocaust-survivor-childhood-run/

January 5, 2017 | Lake Washington School District

Holocaust survivor and actress Eva Tannenbaum-Cummins performed her one-person play, “A Page from the Past… Or is it?” in December for students in Peter Suruda’s English classes at Juanita High School. During the annual visit, organized through a partnership with the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle, Tannenbaum-Cummins recollects her childhood growing up in Hitler’s Berlin:

"All of a sudden we hear ‘Hitler's coming! Hitler's coming!’ And of course everybody had to give the Hitler salute, except Jews for whom it was forbidden. And so my mother said, ‘turn around.’ And we quickly turned around toward a jewelry shop and watched the reflection of Hitler passing by. A very scary moment.”

When she was in fifth grade, Tannenbaum-Cummins and other Jewish students were expelled from school. After witnessing Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass), she and her mother spent nearly a year trying to leave Germany for Seattle where a cousin lived. They arrived in 1939 when she was a teenager. Two weeks later, Germany invaded Poland and ignited World War II.

Students sat in silence during the performance, but were eager to ask questions afterward. Several students were interested in whether Tannenbaum-Cummins had been back to Berlin. She said she’s been back twice, but emphasized Seattle is her home. “Berlin is just a place I used to live.”

 

Allison Hoff w Tom Rose LendaAllison Hoff is an 8th grader at Forest Ridge School and already a published journalist in the Kirkland Reporter.  After a trip to Poland that included a tour of Auschwitz, Allison was inspired to learn more and interviewed local survivor, and member of the Holocaust Center Speakers Bureau, Tom Lenda, about his experiences.  (Photo: Allison Hoff with Tom and Rose Lenda)

The Times Change and We Change With Them:
The inspiring story of a local Holocaust survivor
By: Allison Hoff


As we pulled up in the van I felt my heart beating. I was nervous—how could I begin to express my sorrow and pay my respects to the many souls that died in the Holocaust? As I climbed out of the car, I caught my first glance of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the famous sign, "Arbeit Macht Frei," or, "Work Makes You Free."


I was overwhelmed seeing the vast place for the first time. As I took my first steps on the grounds of the concentration camp, I thought about the many people who had stood there and never got to live their dreams and share their stories. I attempted to comprehend all the pain and suffering that was experienced not long ago, but I had a hard time wrapping my head around everything. I was flooded with inquiries as I walked through Auschwitz that rainy day in August.


Having been to Auschwitz, my perspective regarding not only past genocides around the world, but also current situations our world faces, such as the Syrian refugee crisis, has changed. After learning about how Jews were persecuted during the Holocaust, I can't help but make a connection to the way the Syrians are being treated now, particularly after the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. Seeing Auschwitz was a very meaningful experience for me, and it raised many questions. I wanted to learn more about the Holocaust from someone who had witnessed the concentration camps first hand to educate myself about how the lessons we have learned can be applied today.


I felt exceptionally privileged to have the opportunity to meet a Holocaust survivor with the help of his daughter, Hana Kern. Tommy Lenda lives with his wife Rose in the Seattle area and has written and published a book, Children on the Death Row, the Hate and the War. Mr. Lenda wrote his book under his given surname, Lustig, however his last name was changed after the war and the family has used the name Lenda since 1945. Mr. Lenda speaks frequently in schools to sixth graders, and although it can be emotional, he enjoys sharing his stories with the new generation. I was honored to be invited to his home to talk with him in person and hear his inspiring and motivational story. I knocked on his door one evening with my notebook in hand, nervous and eagerly awaiting our conversation.


Mr. Lenda began by describing to me how as a young boy, he entered Terezín, a concentration camp in the Czech Republic, in 1942 at the age of six. Young Tommy survived Terezín, and left when it was liberated in 1945 at age nine. From the ghettos, Jews were often taken to camps like Terezín before being sent to death camps like Auschwitz. Over 15,000 children inhabited Terezín at some point, but in Tommy's age group of children under nine years old, only 48 survived the Holocaust.


Little Tommy faced many frightening experiences at Terezín, but from our conversation I gathered that he doesn't just want people to pity him. He wants people to learn from what happened in the Holocaust and use that knowledge to make our world a better place. By sharing his story with students, Mr. Lenda has healed himself and found lessons in the Holocaust. "We must eliminate hate because it's usually the source of bad happenings," added Rose, Mr. Lenda's wife. Mr. Lenda explained to me that eliminating hate is something we can all do to make our world a better place, and it could be as simple as standing up to a bully or advocating for what you believe in.


As I left the Lenda's home, I thought about how we strive to learn from the painful events of WWII. It occurred to me that history doesn't always repeat itself in the same way. Certain aspects of a situation are often similar to something that has happened before, but we don't always make the connection.


Europe is currently being flooded with Syrian refugees seeking a new home, similar to how the Jews were seeking safety from anti-Semitism in the 1930s and 1940s. Today, many see the Syrian migrants as potential terrorists. A brief article in the September 25th issue of The Week described how some people in Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic are holding signs that read, "Today's refugees, tomorrow's terrorists." Just like the Jews faced hate and anti-Semitism during the war, Syrians today are facing stereotypes and rejection.


As Pope Francis encouraged during his recent visit to the United States regarding the Syrian refugees, "We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories." This reminded me of Mr. Lenda's message to eliminate hate and inspire love and acceptance.


Mr. Lenda's evolving understanding of the Holocaust relates perfectly to one of his favorite Latin proverbs, "The times change and we change with them." Mr. Lenda hopes that his stories will affect the way we change and inspire us to eliminate hate. As Tommy emphasized to me on the day of our interview, not hate but "the good feeling" helped people survive the worst genocide in history.

 

The Northern Light | By Stefanie Donahue

Seattle-based Holocaust Center for Humanity has awarded Blaine Middle School student Diana Kovtun second place for an art piece she submitted for the organization’s annual Writing, Art and Film Contest.

The nonprofit celebrated its 25th year hosting the contest, which is open to students in grades 5 — 12. This year’s prompt related to a recent honor awarded to Seattle, after it was chosen as one of the 11 places in the United States to care for a sapling from a chestnut tree cherished by Anne Frank.

The prompt, “How does this tree, and what you have learned about the Holocaust, inspire you and others?” garnered a response from about 900 students from 60 schools in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.

“The contest is important because it gives students a creative outlet to express some, at times, heavy and difficult concepts,” said Holocaust Center education associate Julia Thompson.

Most often, the prompts encourage kids to consider the experience of a local holocaust survivor, she said. Ultimately, the mission is to encourage kids to not only be open to learning, but also to take action in their own communities.

The contest is only one component of the Holocaust Center for Humanity’s education. The organization also offers several exhibitions and resources for teachers, including trainings, speaker opportunities and more.

Sixth grade student Kovtun attended the award ceremony in July with support from her teacher Paul Minckler. “The small sapling also illustrates that there is still hope for the survivors and their families and the hope has come,” Kovtun said in a statement.

See Diana's art piece here

It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to Thomas "Toivi" Blatt. He died October 31 at his daughter's home in Santa Barbara, CA.

Thomas was a true inspiration -- a survivor of Sobibor death camp who dedicated his life to Holocaust education. Having lived for many years in the Seattle/Bellevue area, Thomas shared his incredible story with countless schools and community groups in the region.

His funeral will be held on Wednesday, November 4 at 12:30pm in Santa Barbara, CA. His family has made it possible to access a live video feed of the service at Congregation B'nai B'rith here: http://cbbsb.org/our-community-2/media/live-video-stream/

Thomas Blatt

 

Thomas "Toivi" Blatt was born in Izbica, a small town near Lublin, Poland. After the Nazi occupation of his town in 1939, Blatt escaped from the ghetto in Izbica, but was caught and imprisoned at the age of 15. He managed to escape from the prison and return to Izbica.

On April 28, 1943, Blatt and his family were deported to the Sobibor extermination camp, one of the "Operation Reinhard" camps in Poland. There, his father, mother, and little brother were separated from him and gassed. One of the SS officers picked Blatt out and said, "You will be my shoeshine boy." This meant that Blatt joined the group of slave laborers who ran the camp.

In Sobibor, Blatt became a member of the camp's Jewish resistance group. He was designated to run messages to different members of the revolt. On October 14, 1943, he participated in the revolt that resulted in the killing of nearly all the Nazi staff and allowing over 300 (out of the 600 who attempted escape) fellow slave laborers to break free. Unfortunately, many of these escapees lost their lives on the minefields surrounding the camp. Of the 300 who escaped, only 54 survived to the end of the war.

Blatt and two young fellow prisoners were among those who successfully escaped. They found refuge with a farmer who agreed to hide them for the money they had. However, the three boys were eventually betrayed and mercilessly shot. Blatt, left for dead with a bullet in his chin, managed to escape.

Blatt's story is told in his two books: Sobibor: The Forgotten Revolt and From the Ashes of Sobibor.

Blatt dedicated his life to accurately preserving the memory of the more than 250,000 Jews whom the Nazis murdered at the Sobibor death camp. He regularly returned to Europe to appear on talk shows, give lectures, and continue his research. He was depicted by an actor in the award-winning made-for-television movie called "Escape from Sobibor," and acted as chief adviser for the film.

Blatt traveled to Munich in 2011, in spite of his failing heath, to testify in the trial of former Sobibor SS guard Ivan (John) Demjanjuk. His compelling courtroom testimony helped prosecutors in Munich win Demjanjuk's conviction on more than 28,000 counts of serving as an accessory to murder.

When the revolt took place in Sobibor, the leader had said: "Those of you who may survive, bear witness. Let the world know what has happened here." Blatt spent his life fulfilling that mission.

Blatt was proud to be a member of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau when he lived in Seattle. He returned to Seattle often after he moved in Santa Barbara to live with his daughter.

The Holocaust Center, students, teachers, and all who heard him will remember his courage and perseverance.

Tributes in memory of Thomas Blatt can be made to the
Holocaust Center for Humanity (2045 Second Ave, Seattle, WA 98121)
or online.

 

 

Sammamish Review | August 3, 2016 | By Sarah Troy | Several Eastside Catholic School students received awards for their submissions in the Holocaust Center for Humanity’s 2016 Writing, Art and Film Contest.

More than 900 students from 70 schools participated in this year's contest. Students were asked to respond to the question “How does the Anne Frank Tree sapling (recently planted in Seattle) and what you have learned about the Holocaust, inspire you?”

Aava Sikchi, a middle schooler from Issaquah, and Sammamish 10th-grader Kyle Jenkins each earned first place honors for their written essays. Sophomore Emmie Head’s written submission earned an honorable mention.

Several Eastside Catholic sophomores were also recognized for their film entries in the contest. Mitch Flippo (Bellevue) and Sarah Troy (Sammamish) tied for second, and Sacha Mallalieu (Sammamish) and Mina Head (Sammamish) placed third.

Established in 1989, the Holocaust Center for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that strives to teach tolerance to schools and communities in the Pacific Northwest through lessons of the Holocaust.

See all of the winners and their projects

By Natalie Singer-Velush | ParentMap Managing Editor | Oct. 21, 2015

This new museum, the first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, is a story-driven outing honoring human rights and local survivors.

At first I was a little unsure about the decision to take my daughters, 8 and 10, to a Holocaust museum on a Sunday morning. To begin with — the difficult subject. Add in their relatively young ages and the fact that they had just come off another busy week and a Saturday chock-full with soccer, ballet and more soccer, and well … let’s just say it could have gone in any direction.

I’m so glad we went.

Mine were the first children to visit on the opening weekend of the Henry and Sandra Friedman Holocaust Center for Humanity, but the center — the Northwest’s first Holocaust museum — was ready for them. Read More

Auburn Reporter | Aug. 1, 2016Wyatt Pritchard, an eighth-grader from Cascade Middle School, took honorable mention honors for writing at the recent Holocaust Center for Humanity's Writing, Art and Film Contest.

Nearly 900 students, from grades 5 through 12, from more than 60 different schools from throughout the area responded through paintings, essays, sketches, poems and films. The winners were honored July 24 at the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle.

Pritchard's teacher is Alethea Dozier.

The following is an excerpt from Wyatt's poem: "In a time in your life where you are never certain/if you will live or if you're being watched through the curtain/there is only one thing that refuses to disappear/that this is faith, it make things become clear." (Read Wyatt's poem here.)

For more than 25 years, Holocaust Center for Humanity has been teaching tolerance and citizenship through lessons of the Holocaust and provides inspirational education opportunities and resources to teachers and the community. The center offers teacher training, a speakers bureau of local Holocaust survivors, "travelling trunks," and the writing, art and film contest.

The contest empowers the students to creatively speak out and explore different aspects of their daily lives while engaging with the lessons of the Holocaust.

A full list of the winners and their work is available here.

SEATTLE -- The first museum in Seattle to honor the Holocaust opened its doors on Sunday, highlighting the stories of local victims and survivors.

 

Q13-VideoNewMuseum 

Chimacum Middle School eighth grader Eva Casey stands with her teacher Gretchen Berg, at a July 24 ceremony for the Holocaust Center for Humanity's annual Writing and Art Contest. PTLeader.com | Eva Casey, an eighth-grader at Chimacum Middle School, recently won first place in her age group in the Holocaust Center for Humanity’s annual Writing, Art & Film Contest.

For the past several years, all Chimacum seventh-graders have been given the opportunity to write an entry for this contest as a culminating activity at the end of the unit of study about the Holocaust and Nazi persecution. This year, almost 900 students from 70 schools participated in the contest.

Casey is the second winner from Chimacum. In 2014, Journey Orchanian won second place in the writing portion of the contest.

“The art part of the contest wasn’t easy, but I knew I had an OK idea about what I was going to do,” wrote Casey in an artist’s statement posted on the Holocaust Center's Facebook page. “I wanted to only put the names of victims on the picture at first, but later ,I added survivors to give a sense of hope. It was overwhelming how many names I read; I don’t think I could ever write all of them down. All in all, the tree was hard to work with for me, but the message was great, and I enjoyed drawing it.”

An awards ceremony took place July 24 at the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle; Casey's art was used on the front of the ceremony invitations.

View the award winners. 

Listen to the Kiro Radio segment by clicking here

In the museum, a large, black and white picture displays elementary-age students, all with Jewish star patches sewn into their sweaters and coats.Up front sits Pete Metzelaar, about 6 years old at the time. Now 80, he's a Seattleite and Holocaust survivor who travels around the country telling his story.

"That regime, state-sponsored, wanted to eradicate every person of the Jewish faith on Earth," Metzelaar said.

"Everybody is different," he said, about how people will react to the new museum in Seattle.
Maybe they'll see the child's leather shoe, on loan from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum in Poland, and really understand what happened. That "they were gassed. They were … burned in the crematorium," Metzelaar said.
Metzelaar believes teaching it both in the museum and in schools can help people understand tolerance "to make kids aware what bullying will do to the worst extent," he said.

"Six million people got annihilated, among which were 1.5 million kids 10 years and younger. I mean it could have been … me." Those are the numbers of Jewish victims but the Nazis targeted more, including people who were mentally ill, gay or lesbian, and any minority who didn't fit into the Aryan race. 

Metzelaar survived because a Dutch couple risked their lives to house him and his mother. "We just lived in the farmhouse, but when the Germans came to raid the farm we crawled underneath some floor boards," he said."They were walking a foot and a half over my head. It would have taken one sneeze, one cough, one hiccup, and it would have been all over.
And even that got to be too dangerous."The farmer built them a cave in a small forest next to the farm "… and my mom and I hid in that like a couple of sardines," Metzelaar said.

And this was after he and his mother had already been separated from their entire family, who all died at Auschwitz.Those raids happened once or twice a week and Metzelaar was only 8 years old."We could hear them ransacking the farm — it was close by. That was the scary part … 'Are they gonna come get me?' … I was aware that somebody wants to kill me."

Metzelaar is one of many Seattle-area survivors profiled in the exhibit, and that focus on local stories is what sets this Holocaust museum apart.
Ilana Cone Kennedy, Seattle-based Holocaust Center for Humanity's Director of Education, wants young students and adult visitors to leave thinking about injustices that are happening right now."Our actions make a difference … what we do, even the little things — good or bad — have a ripple effect. They matter," she said."The Holocaust was a perfect storm of things happening and it didn't have to be that way. It could have changed, had people done different things, like stood up … and there were people who did. There just weren't enough of them."

Metzelaar was able to go to the Netherlands and meet the children of the couple who saved him."I sat next to the daughter and I asked her, ‘What made your parents do what they did?' Her straight answer was: they felt it was the right thing to do," Metzelaar said.

The museum opens in Belltown on Sunday and after that will be open twice a week. Visitors are asked to make reservations online at HolocaustCenterSeattle.org.