The number of people who remember the Holocaust in the 1930s and ’40s is shrinking, as those who experienced the horror firsthand are succumbing to old age.
Marc Gottlieb wants to make sure the Holocaust is not forgotten.
As chairman of the Augusta Holocaust Remembrance Committee, he said he is pleased by the awareness that the traveling exhibit Witness to the Holocaust is bringing to the community.
The exhibit is presented by the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust. The Augusta-Richmond County Library is bringing it to Augusta as an educational outreach opportunity.
“We’re always looking for informational exhibits that will bring people into the library and educate the community as well,” said Library Assistant Aspasia Luster.
The exhibit will open Friday and remain through Feb. 7.
It features photographs taken by William Alexander “W.A.” Scott III, a photojournalist during World War II who witnessed and photographed the liberation of the concentration camp at Buchenwald.
Scott was also a civil rights activist, and his father founded the first black-owned daily newspaper in the United States. Some of the exhibit’s panels draw parallels between the Jim Crow Laws, which forced segregation between whites and blacks between 1876 and 1965, and the Nuremburg Laws, which persecuted Jews in Europe between 1935-1945.
Gottlieb will give a presentation the day before the exhibit closes to offer another perspective on the Holocaust.
As chairman of the Holocaust Remembrance Committee, he helps organize an annual service at the Augusta Jewish Community Center to remember the victims. Many of the people who attend such events are Jewish, but Jews weren’t the only people killed.
Gottlieb said past speakers at remembrance events have been gay and black ministers who shared experiences of the Holocaust from those perspectives.
“All those experiences are very salient to nowadays. People don’t realize that it could happen again, and it is happening again,” he said.
He said exhibits such as this one have the potential to bring awareness to more people outside the Jewish community.
Gottlieb said this is the first time in his 13 years as chairman of the committee that he has presented at a public library. He usually speaks in schools, churches and synagogues.
For this program, Gottlieb will speak about his 1995 visit to Poland, where he toured concentration camps with 5,000 teenagers and 500 adults through The March of the Living program.
He said that tour spurred him to volunteer his time to raising awareness.
“When you’re in Auschwitz and you see the shoes, and you see the hair and you see the clothing, it totally affects you, and you come away with it wanting to share that experience. At least, I did,” he said.