Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Painful memories

The ongoing Holocaust exhibit at the East Library is called "The Courage to Remember."

There's truth in the title. Remembering the Holocaust -- when millions of Jews were killed by Nazi Germany -- is painful stuff. Particularly for the folks who lived it.

Adele Obodov, 79, initially declined to participate in this latest project, purchased from the Simon Wiesenthal Center. She was nearing 80. She'd done her share of school presentations. But every time she talked, she dredged up painful memories of the past.

"It's the anxiety of the past," she said. "And that anxiety lasts with you all of your life."

She relented, in part because Paulette Greenberg, head of the sponsoring organization Greenberg Center for Learning and Tolerance, is so persuasive. But she also realizes there are still those who deny the Holocaust -- those who say it never happened.

"If that's the case, what happened to my uncle and my aunt and my cousin?" she said. Nazi records say they died in Auschwitz. How can there be people, she wonders, who still don't believe?

So she allowed herself to be filmed for a DVD, now part of the exhibit. She was there at the exhibit's opening Feb. 4. She still talks about the Holocaust with those who ask. But this, she said, is the last time.

Obodov never went to a concentration camp. She was transported to England shortly before World War II, part of a massive effort to evacuate Jewish children from Germany.

"We knew at some level that if we didn't leave, we wouldn't," she said.

Her parents also survived. Many of her relatives were not so lucky.

Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime was openly anti-Semitic for years before the war. The fact that Jews were in danger didn't take anyone by surprise, according to Obodov.

But, she added, "I don't think anybody knew the extent or could imagine the numbers. I don't think anyone imagined the magnitude of it."

The exhibit, at 5550 N. Union Blvd. will run through the end of February. Materials from the exhibit, including Obodov's DVD, will be available for checkout thereafter.


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