June 21 – 27, 2019Vol. 21, No. 3

Our Stories Have to Be Told

The latest exhibit at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine will feature a collection of the artifacts that have been donated or loaned to the HHRC over the years and compiled in a way that tells the story of the years leading up to the Holocaust through liberation. Our Stories Have to Be Told: HHRC Artifacts from the Holocaust opened on Wednesday, June 5, and was put together by HHRC Associate Director David Greenham and recent University of Southern Maine graduate Justin Dyer of Bath.

The title comes from a quote by Holocaust survivor Jerry Slivka (July 11, 1915 — January 10, 2013). He is one of several survivors whose quotes and reflections are included in the exhibit.

Jerry Slivka was born in the Ukraine, but his village was destroyed during WWI. The family moved to the Jewish section of another town nearby named Povursk. When Hitler came to power, Jerry was out of school and decided to move to Lodz, Poland. He worked making sweaters and then returned to Povursk in 1937.

Four years later, Jerry was drafted into the Soviet army. During his time of service, he lost contact with his family. In 1943, Jerry was sent to a work camp in Siberia where he remained until the end of the war. At that time, the Soviet Union had an agreement that those who were Polish citizens prior to 1939 could go back to Poland. Jerry qualified, submitted his application, and a year later returned to Poland.

He learned that his parents, sister and one brother were killed. Jerry was able to find his surviving brother and the two traveled to Italy before arriving to the US in 1948. Soon after, he met and married his wife Rochelle. The couple moved to Maine and helped found the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine. At the time of his death, he was survived by two daughters, six grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

Our Stories Have to Be Told: HHRC Artifacts from the Holocaust will be open through September 13. The HHRC, located at the Michael Klahr Center on the campus of the University of Maine at Augusta is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or on weekends and evenings by appointment.

If you have any questions about the exhibit please contact David Greenham at david.greenham@maine.edu or 621-3531.