portairts of survival 248.88.
(photo credit: David Radler)
Home to America's nuclear arsenal and some of its military's most advanced and classified platforms, the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), located just outside Omaha, will soon permanently host an unexpected exhibit - a collection of photographs documenting this city's living Holocaust survivors.
The photographs were taken by David Radler as part of a project led by Beth Dotan, director of the Institute for Holocaust Education at the Omaha Jewish Federation and the state office of the Anti-Defamation League.
The exhibit includes 30 photographs of 30 Holocaust survivors living in the greater Omaha area. According to Dotan, these are the last known survivors alive in the area.
Dotan came up with the idea to document the city's surviving survivors ahead of the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht last November. Omaha has some 440,00 residents.
"It was important to me that we honor survivors still alive in Omaha and I was planning a 70-year Kristallnacht remembrance and this was a great way to do it," she said.
Through contacts with the nearby military base, Dotan and the local ADL director Alan Potash arranged for the exhibit at the USSTRATCOM's museum. According to Dotan, 52,000 people saw the display.
The museum directors were also interested in buying the exhibit and putting it on permanent display alongside the museum's other artifacts, which include some of the strategic bombers and fighter jets used by the US Air Force and its predecessor, the US Army Air Corps, throughout the last century. The museum recently held a fund-raiser to purchase the exhibit.
"They see it as a possibility to connect to their educational theories and philosophies and to talk about the war from a larger perspective," Dotan said. "They connected it to the liberation of the Holocaust."
Dotan and Radler visited the survivors at their homes where they took pictures of them in familiar surroundings. The exhibit is also on display at the Jewish Community Center in Omaha.
The Omaha Jewish community consists of about 6,000 people and used to include some 200 survivors, Dotan said.