Rare Holocaust exhibit brought to local church by daughter of survivor
Published Sunday, March 18, 2012 4:54PM CST
It's traveled across Europe, through Canada and has now arrived at Winnipeg's Westminster United Church.
Names Instead of Numbers, a rare Holocaust exhibit, features floor-to-ceiling banners depicting biographies of Holocaust victims.
Bringing Names Instead of Numbers to the Winnipeg church was a joint effort between the Ridd Institute at the University of Winnipeg and Westminster United Church, but one woman in particular tried hard to get it here.
Belle Millo, the organizer of the exhibition, has a deep connection to that part of history.
"My father was an incredibly strong person. I always say he was my hero, considering everything he suffered through," Millo said.
Millo's father Samuel Jarniewski spent six years in concentration camps during the Holocaust before ending up in Dachau Concentration Camp just outside of Munich, Germany.
"He lived in intolerable conditions. At some point he knew all of his family had been killed including his wife and child, who were sent to the gas chamber," said Millo.
Samuel passed away nearly three decades ago after arriving in Canada in 1948.
Now, thanks to Millo, the exhibition that aims to tell the stories of Holocaust victims like Samuel, has found its way to Winnipeg. Names Instead of Numbers has traveled across the world telling personal stories of survivors through words, pictures and names.
Samuel's story is not unlike that of Reverend Geza Szemok's grandmother. Szemok, who is a reverend at Westminster church, said though his grandmother was Roman Catholic, she was nearly sent to Auschwitz.
"She was a maid and worked for a Jewish family," Szemok said. "When the family was taken to a temporary concentration camp, my grandmother took them food everyday, but she was caught."
Both Szemok and Millo hope the exhibition and its stories will help drive home the message that the Holocaust affected people from a multitude of backgrounds.
"Our survivors are slowly slipping away from us," said Millo.
"We remember them. We grieve them. We don't want to forget them," said Szemok.
The showing marks the first time the exhibit has been shown at a Canadian church, and it features both Jewish and Christian victims of the Holocaust. The exhibit was first displayed at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site in Germany.
The exhibit begins at 7 p.m. March 18 and runs until April 15.
-- with a report from CTV's Rajeev Dhir