Two months ago, there were only two dozen handwritten notes, scattered like colorful Post-its, on a concrete pillar inside Seattle’s new Holocaust Center for Humanity. Written by students, the notes answer the question “How does change begin with you?” By this time next year, executive director Dee Simon hopes there will be 15,000 responses.
Part time capsule, part interactive museum and 25 years in the making, the center is located on the first floor of an unassuming Belltown building. Within is a library containing more than 3,000 books and videos, a classroom and a walk-through gallery, where artifacts are displayed alongside a chronological retelling of the different stages of the Holocaust. In addition to the Center’s collection of Holocaust-related objects, 14 relics will be on loan from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. (Among them are items that Jewish families brought with them, not realizing where they were going: a child’s cup, a woman’s compact, a man’s comb.)
The organization will also take a decidedly regional approach by presenting the collection through the lens of nearly 20 survivors and liberators from the Seattle area, in the hope of humanizing the intolerance and despair as well as celebrating faith in human kindness. “Instead of having a number like 6 million,” says Simon, who is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, “students of all ages will hopefully look at this moment in history in a more personal way.”
Opening: 10/18, 10/21, 10/25. Hours vary. $10/general; $5/seniors and students. Pre-registration required. Belltown, 2045 Second Ave.; 206.582.3000; holocaustcenterseattle.org.