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Faith Under Fire - Arnold Liebster Foundation

 

Letters regarding the Faith Under Fire exhibit :

December 23, 2019

Dear Educator:

At Elgin Community College, we chose to bring the exhibit “Jehovah’s Witnesses: Faith Under Fire” on campus for the month of November 2019. The Global and International Studies Taskforce (GIST) and the English Department sponsored the event as part of an initiative to bring global education into the classroom and educate students, the community, and staff about the Nazi persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses during WWII. Most were familiar with the persecution of the Jews, but few were aware of the suffering and discrimination experienced by the Witnesses. To kick-off the event, U.S. Representatives of the Arnold-Liebster Foundation, Greg and Sandra Milakovich, gave a 30-minute presentation, followed by a 30-minute Skype-session with Simone Arnold Liebster, a Holocaust-era survivor.

The exhibit showcases Arnold Liebster’s persecution and that of others. It provides details of important and little-known history regarding the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses during the Nazi regime. Jehovah?’s Witnesses were unique in that they were the only religion that took a stand, as a whole group, refusing to salute Hitler or to serve in the military. Their faith stood in strong opposition to the racism and hatred fomented by the Nazis. This infuriated Hitler, resulting in their arrests and internment in concentration camps and Nazi reeducation “schools.” Witnesses could be released by the simple act of signing a declaration that denied their faith and pledged allegiance to Hitler. Most did not. This exhibit includes a copy of the document and stories of Witnesses who stood firm, some to the point of death, many to the point of near starvation and severe and irreversible health problems.

These stories touched students, faculty, administrators, and community members alike. The media attention brought many people to see the exhibit, even from hours away. One gentleman drove two hours to see the exhibit, as he, too, had survived the Nazi persecution. While not a Witness himself, he remembers the Witnesses and the purple triangles on their prison uniforms. He recounted how one of the Witnesses featured in the exhibit, saved his life by feeding him scraps of food meant for the rabbits. Another family came after hearing about the exhibit from a family member who lived several states away. A Jewish student commented that she belonged to a local synagogue, and she knew that several members of her congregation were interested in the exhibit.

Since the exhibit was open to visitors whenever the school was open, we were not able to capture actual numbers but it is safe to say that several hundred people visited during the month. The response was so impressive that we have decided to bring it back next semester. I highly recommend the exhibit and the presentation. This is important history that demonstrates how individuals and groups can stand up against violence and hate, regardless of what others do.

Sincerely,

Ginger Alms
Professor of English
Elgin Community College
1700 Spartan Drive
Elgin, IL 60123-7193
847-697-1000
elgin.edu

 

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July 30, 2008

This letter is written in support of the Arnold Liebster Foundation and their exhibition, Faith Under Fire created for the Florida Holocaust Museum. Through this exhibition, the Florida Holocaust Museum and other exhibition sites are able to educate visitors, mostly school-aged students, on the little known history of the Nazi’s other victims. The exhibition explains the persecution Jehovah’s Witnesses faced during the Holocaust and their courage in the face of great danger.

Faith Under Fire helps to communicate the lessons of the Holocaust in an easy to understand, well-organized and visually appealing way. Visitors who see the exhibition often comment that by seeing it, they learned something that was previously unknown to them. It is easily one of the most popular temporary exhibitions we host.

Sincerely,

Erin Blankenship
Curator of Exhibitions & Collections
Florida Holocaust Museum
55 Fifth Street South
Saint Petersburg, Florida 33701

 

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January 14, 2008

The Virginia Holocaust Museum's staff wants to thank the Arnold Liebster Foundation for the wonderful exhibition "Faith Under Fire" and recognize its efforts to continue Holocaust education. Exhibits like the foundation's help represent the entirety of the Holocaust to the Museum's visitors. The panels of the display explain the story of the brave Jehovah's witnesses who would not denounce their faith and defied the Nazis.
Originally planned from the 22nd of October through the 26th of November 2007, the Museum ultimately hosted the exhibition through the 26th of December 2007. Due to the overwhelming visitor response, the Museum requested a month-long extension for the display housed in its Holocaust Gallery.

Respectfully yours,
Dianna Gabay
Director of Exhibitions and Collections
Virginia Holocaust Museum
2000 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23223

 

All letters in their entirety can be provided upon request.

 

>> Review regarding the Faith Under Fire exhibit

>> Media kit regarding the Faith Under Fire exhibit

 

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