Rockland Community College will hold a public reception to show off a new interactive kiosk that educates by sharing the personal testimonies of 18 local Holocaust survivors. The event will be held in the library on Thursday, Oct. 17 at 6 p.m.
The kiosk is a project of the Holocaust Museum & Study Center, which opened an office at RCC in November 2012 and is being expanded as it transitions from its location in Spring Valley.
“The Holocaust: Behind the Tears,” offers the community a free-standing interactive kiosk, called a Survivor Station, designed to educate users and preserve the compelling testimony of an aging population of Holocaust survivors.
Located on the main floor of the library, the Survivor Station offers the personal testimony of 18 Holocaust survivors who now live in Rockland County. The free-standing interactive kiosk has a touch controlled screen and audio headphones. Users can select topics from categories such as Forced Labor, Ghettos, Survival, Death, Liberation and Recovery. The survivors’ narratives are augmented by related facts and archival photographs.
“The purpose of this project was to record the testimonials of local Holocaust survivors and present it in a manner that would take advantage of new technology and appeal to younger people,” said Paul Galan, a Holocaust survivor and professional filmmaker who is producer and director of the project and chair of the Holocaust Museum’s Board.
“The survivors’ stories are most compelling and dramatic,” Galan said. “Unfortunately, many of the subjects are dying out. This project enables us to bring their testimonials to life and to educate future generations about the lessons of the Holocaust.”
The five-year project was funded by the New York State Department of Education, the Jewish Federation of Rockland County and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
Plans for a portable version of the program are being developed by the Holocaust Museum’s director of education, Lisa Stenchever, in concert with local educators. Curricula for the laptop-accessible program will be suitable for use in classrooms and in the museum by students from sixth grade through college level, under the supervision of museum staff.
Holocaust Museum programs and exhibits are being relocated to RCC from their present site adjacent to the Finkelstein Library. The museum has held several events at the College, including an exhibit of Holocaust-era artwork by David Friedmann and lectures by award-winning ice dancer Loren Galler-Rabinowitz and journalist Alan Elsner. The museum’s annual Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Day) gathering is held in RCC’s Cultural Arts Theater each spring.
The College offers courses in Holocaust history and holds a week-long Holocaust Commemoration every spring.