New exhibit to educate about Shoah

September 4, 2008

A £750,000 Holocaust exhibition for children will open in Nottinghamshire on Monday.

"The Journey" is the latest addition to the Holocaust Centre, founded by brothers Stephen and James Smith. It follows the story of a fictional Jewish child, Leo Stein.

Visitors will see Leo's home, street and school and his father's shop. Also included is the boy's "hiding space" and the carriage that transports him to safety in England. The exhibit further incorporates the stories of many children who survived Nazi persecution.

One is from Dutch survivor Martin Stern, who now lives in Leicester. He was five when taken to the Westerbork camp in Holland. He recalls that he was at nursery school when two young Dutchmen walked in and asked if he was in class. "The teacher answered at once, saying that I had not come in that day. In my ignorance I put up my hand and said: ‘But I am here.' I was led away."

He was later one of the 15,000 children sent to the Terezin camp in Czechoslovakia. Barely 100 lived to tell the tale.

Visiting the site in May, Children and Families Secretary Ed Balls said the exhibit would teach the young about the Holocaust in an appropriate way and get them "to question values, behaviours and attitudes". To enable visitors to get the most out of their experience, numbers will be restricted to a maximum of 90 per day.

Shadow Families Minister Maria Miller and former Schools Minister Stephen Twigg are expected at the formal opening.

However, there will be a preview for survivors on Sunday and a visit by Association of Jewish Refugees' members on Tuesday.

The AJR is among backers of the exhibit, along with the Heritage Lottery Fund, Nottinghamshire County Council and the Pears Foundation.

Last updated: 11:08am, September 12 2008