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The Breman Museum: A Window into the Past; A Member of the Present

By Elisha Neubauer

There are some lessons in history that should never be forgotten. One such event is The Holocaust, a horrific moment in humanity's history, and the focus of the 'Absence of Humanity' exhibit which is on permanent display at The Breman Museum in Atlanta, Georgia.

'Absence of Humanity: The Holocaust Years, 1933-1945,' is a powerful presentation of history which educates visitors of the horrors that the Jewish community once faced. With elaborate detail, this exhibit features a step-by-step history of the moments before, during, and after The Holocaust. These flashes into the past are told through the voices of the Atlanta Survivor's community; those who survived these unimaginable terrors and found a start right in the Atlanta area. Adding a personal touch, the exhibit was designed by local architect (and survivor) Ben Hirsch.

'Absence of Humanity' features historic photos, documents, and memorabilia, as well as videotaped personalized interviews conducted with survivors right in Atlanta. "For instance there is a child's doll in the Holocaust exhibition," states Aaron Berger, Executive Director of The Breman. "It along with its owner survived the Holocaust, eventually finding its way to Atlanta." While the exhibit documents one of humanity's darkest days, it does so in a heartfelt, beautiful manner, giving both local and worldwide survivors the respect and honor they truly deserve.

While an important step in Jewish history, The Holocaust is not the entire focus of The Breman. The museum is dedicated to making the lessons of the Holocaust and the history of the Southern Jewish experience available to the general public, as their mission statement clearly states on their website. "The museum has a robust archive featuring the historical records, images and objects of Jews in the Southeast since they first arrived in the mid 1700s," explains Berger. "We bring on new objects after a careful review by the collection committee and only if the objects comply with our criteria, that said objects, photographs, papers come from all over."

The Breman may center on the history of the Jewish community, but that's not their sole focus. They believe that they must be an integral, involved member of the local community in order to continue their mission. It isn't enough to display a window into the past; they need to be active in the present to really drive the lessons home.

"The Breman Museum collaborates with most of the cultural and educational attractions in and around Atlanta," states Berger. "This includes The Atlanta Opera, The Atlanta Jazz Festival, Theatrical Outfit and the various museums and colleges." He adds, "It is our goal to be actively engaged with the museum community locally regionally, nationally, and internationally."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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