Library exhibit honors Alabama Holocaust survivors

Published 10:47 am Tuesday, November 21, 2023

On Nov. 30, the Selma-Dallas County Public Library’s “Lunch at Library” series will showcase “Darkness into Life: Alabama Holocaust Survivors through Photography and Art.”  

The event, which starts at 12:30 p.m., will begin with a speech followed by as question and answer session with Ann Mollengarden, an applied researcher at the Alabama Holocaust Education Center (AHEC). 

“This traveling exhibit will include 17 panels featuring 20 survivors who made their home in Alabama,” Mollengarden said. “It will cover their lives before, during and after the Holocaust.”

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According to the center’s website at  http://www.ahecinfo.org, the AHEC, established in 2002 stands as a nonprofit organization dedicated to Holocaust remembrance and education across Alabama. Inspired by the presence of Holocaust survivors in the community, the AHEC strives to ensure their memories endure, fostering awareness of past injustices.

Mollengarden stated that the upcoming exhibit aligns with the center’s mission and offers a profound introduction to the Holocaust, combining photography and art by two talented Alabama artists. Beyond the visual elements, the panels will include narratives, biographies and maps to help provide a comprehensive understanding of the survivor’s experiences. This approach aims to convey not only the historical context but also the personal stories that bind us as a community. 

Becky Nichols, library Director, expressed her enthusiasm for the event, highlighting its exceptional nature within the library’s diverse offerings. Nichols emphasized that the exhibit goes beyond portraying those showcased as merely victims of the Holocaust. Instead, the panels will unveil the essence of who they were and what they were like, offering a more personal perspective to the subject’s life. 

“It’s a collection of large, standing photographs and art, and it’s their family stories,” Nichols said. “What you’re going to see in these panels that will be all down the hallway is the photographs, the memorabilia, the things that bind us together.”

One of the stories featured by the AHEC is the story of Herman Berger and his family. Herman and his wife Freida fled Germany in 1938 and settled in Selma. Although Herman and his wife managed to escape persecution, members of his family were less fortunate. 

To hear Herman’s story and others like it, join the library on Nov. 30 or view the exhibition at the Dallas County Public Library until Dec. 15.