The Museum of Tolerance dedicates a portrait gallery to Holocaust survivors

LOS ANGELES (KABC) – “My mother was killed and seeing her picture means so much,” said Eva Brettler, a Holocaust survivor who was pictured holding a framed photo of her mother.

Brettler was one of more than 30 Holocaust survivors who gathered Thursday at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance for a special event in their honor.

“It really is a day of celebrating with friends and tasting delicious food and getting together, something we haven’t done in two years,” said Elana Samuels, director of volunteer services at the museum.

The museum program included lunch, a selection of videos and the dedication of Witness to Truth’s latest portrait gallery featuring photographs by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Marissa Roth.

Brettler’s photograph along with photos of over 100 other Holocaust survivors can be seen in the gallery.

“That little kid in me is still, even though I’m a grandma now, the little kid in me still misses his mommy,” Brettler said.

“It’s a great way to get people to remember what happened a long time ago,” said Peter Heiman, another Holocaust survivor. “And it’s still happening today.”

Creation of the gallery began in 2005. Today, the final product includes 104 Holocaust survivors and although some of them are no longer living, organizers said it was important to keep their stories alive. .

“I think for survivors to share their story is very difficult and very painful,” Samuels said. “And yet they know how important I think it is, in particular, to transmit their heritage to the young people who frequent the Museum of Tolerance.”

“Education is something no one can take away from you and I asked them, ‘Please be compassionate and don’t allow hate to be a part of your life,'” Brettler said. “I’m just passing that message on to the next generation. I think it always seems like my obligation.”

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Julia P. Cluff