The Last Stop in West Texas for “Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide” Exhibit – Midland College in Midland, TX

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Back in October the SWC hosted the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission’s (THGC) thirty-four panel, Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide” exhibit, and it was well received by its visitors. In mid-January it was installed at Midland College’s McCormick Gallery in Midland, Texas, where it will run through the end of February. We feel that this unique exhibit deserves one more mention by us to encourage interested folks to hurry over to Midland and check it out.

In the words of the THGC: “Genocides begin when intolerant and hateful individuals dehumanize others in a society by putting them into separate and unequal classes and deliberately harming them. According to the Genocide Watch organization, genocides and mass murders led to the killing of more than 170 million people, more than the sum of the deaths in all 20th and 21st century wars combined.” Prijedor was put together to educate the public about genocide through the story of the Bosnian city of Prijedor, where between 1992 and 1995 acts of genocide were committed. The exhibit “honors both the memory of the lives lost in the Prijedor genocide and the experiences of the survivors whose stories are told within the 34 panel series.”

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Why is Midland hosting the exhibit? Much like the SWC, the McCormick Gallery has made it their mission is to exhibit, collect, and preserve history, in this case through the medium of art. The Prijedor exhibit aligns closely with those goals, and represents an opportunity to tell a story that for many has been forgotten in the decades since it occurred.

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The SWC hosted the THGC’s quarterly meeting in late October 2013, whereat we were able to speak with the many individuals who made this exhibit possible. They were passionate about their mission to increase awareness of genocide, and talked at length about their many educational programs and events. Perhaps Chaja Verveer, THGC commissioner and a Holocaust survivor, sums it up best: “Our kids need to be taught to recognize and fight bigotry, to stem hatred and prejudice, and learn about living together, embracing diversity.”

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Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission programs include teacher workshops providing guidance in teaching the Holocaust and other genocides, the recording of concentration camp liberator oral histories, and the enhancing of social studies curriculum through requiring the teaching of genocide-related content in school classrooms. For more information regarding Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission programs and Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month (April), please do not hesitate to contact them.

The “Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide” exhibit is open to all. College students, middle and high school students, and educators are particularly encouraged to attend. Note also that the University of Texas at Tyler will host the exhibit in March 2014.

– by the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission

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Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission’s Quarterly Meeting Hosted at the SWC!

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Two weeks ago we wrote about the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission’s (THGC) exhibit “Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide.” The Southwest Collection is proud to host the exhibit from October 3rd through November 7th, and is equally excited to announce that we are also hosting the THGC’s Quarterly Meeting on October 24th and 25th!

If you don’t know about the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission already, here’s their story. The THGC was established by the Texas Senate to ensure that resources are available to students, educators, and the general public regarding the Holocaust and other genocides. Education is not its only goal. Imbuing individuals with a sense of responsibility to uphold human value, especially in the face of genocidal travesty, is also one of its primary aims. The Commission also facilitates recognition of the horrors of genocide, as well as the people who strove instead to preserve human sanctity throughout these tragedies.

An excellent example of this is the Texas Liberators Oral Histories project. Oral history programs are present in many archives, including the Southwest Collection, but the THGC’s is particularly poignant. Conducted in conjunction with Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History, this project gathered oral histories from several Texas World War II veterans in order to celebrate their service and their efforts to free survivors of concentration camps. This project not only furthered the THGC’s educational mission, but also preserves in perpetuity the personal stories that recall atrocities of the Holocaust. Even better: these aren’t simply transcripts or audio recordings that patrons must request from an archive. Many were videoed and have been made available online!

One of the best examples the interviews they conducted is this conversation with a Dachau liberator. This Mauthausen liberator’s interview and this second Dauchau-related oral history are incredible as well.

Finally, the THGC worked with the Texas legislature to set aside the month of April as Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month. In their words: “genocides begin when intolerant and hateful individuals dehumanize others in a society by putting them into separate and unequal classes and deliberately harming them.  Genocides in the last two decades have emphasized the pertinence of this issue, and the threat of further atrocities remains alive in the world today.” The THGC not only wants to share the stories of the past, but ensure that the world prevent such tragedies in the future.

Those interested in finding out more about the THGC, their many projects, or their Quarterly Meeting at Texas Tech University, should contact them at (512) 463-8815 or via their website. As always, we at the SWC are always happy to answer any questions as well.

-by Robert Weaver, the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission, and the Texas Historical Commission

“Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide” exhibit visits the SWC

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The image above is one of the many photographs displayed in the “Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide” exhibit. This one depicts the remains of several victims of the genocide that were not discovered until over a decade later.

This October the Southwest Collection is proud to host the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission’s (THGC) thirty-four panel, “Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide” exhibit. Through this exhibit, the THGC hopes to educate citizens about the circumstances that lead to the Bosnian Genocide.

Genocides begin when intolerant and hateful individuals dehumanize others in a society by putting them into separate and unequal classes and deliberately harming them. According to the Genocide Watch organization, genocides and mass murders led to the killing of more than 170 million people, more than the sum of the deaths in all 20th and 21st century wars combined. The exhibit, Prijedor, tells the story of genocide in the Bosnian city of Prijedor between 1992 and 1995. The exhibit honors both the memory of the lives lost in the Prijedor genocide and the experiences of the survivors whose stories are told within the 34 panel series.

The exhibit will visit eight Texas venues over the course of the next two years. Prior to its stop in Lubbock, the exhibit was displayed at the Williamson County Courthouse in Georgetown. Following Lubbock, the exhibit will travel to Midland College in January 2014.

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The final panel of “Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide” acknowledges the contributions of the residents of Prijedor whose donations of time, photos, and artifacts helped make the exhibit possible. More poignantly, it thanks the survivors whose stories the exhibit tells, often in their own words. Their names can be seen in the top-right.

The THGC’s mission is to increases awareness of genocide and the Holocaust through educational programs, advice, assistance, and coordination of groups, events, and volunteers. Chaja Verveer, THGC commissioner and a Holocaust survivor, says, “Our kids need to be taught to recognize and fight bigotry, to stem hatred and prejudice, and learn about living together, embracing diversity.”  The “Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide” exhibit is open to all. College students, middle and high school students, and educators are particularly encouraged to attend.

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The text of “Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide” is a narrative guided by the stories of the survivors. As you can see here, many of those survivors emigrated to St. Louis and later graciously made themselves available for oral history interviews so that this tragedy could be documented for all time.

Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission programs include teacher workshops providing guidance in teaching the Holocaust and other genocides, the recording of concentration camp liberator oral histories, and the enhancing of social studies curriculum through requiring the teaching of genocide-related content in school classrooms. For more information regarding Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission programs and Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month (April), please do not hesitate to contact them.

–   Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission

–   Photo by John Perrin