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Hasten Hebrew Academy museum reflects on Holocaust Remembrance Day

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Holocaust Remembrance Day begins on Wednesday at sunset. It is a way to commemorate the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust and a chance for people to be educated about this dark moment in history.

The Hasten Hebrew Academy of Indianapolis (HHAI) is the only elementary and middle school in the country to have a Holocaust Museum made by students, for young people to learn more about this important history.

On Wednesday students will visit the museum and light memorial candles that also have QR codes on them. They will then scan the barcodes and learn about a child that was killed as a result of the Holocaust. Candles will be lit Wednesday and Thursday. 

The museum opened in 2018 and features a variety of exhibits including works of art, historical artifacts, and depictions of life in Nazi concentration camps. It also shows historical material detailing the rise of Nazi Germany and the impact on the lives of European Jews, as well as educational video interviews with Holocaust survivors.

The school said that a majority of the survivors featured in this museum have some kind of Indiana connection and are very often they are family of students or staff at the school.

“The museum represents our student’s dedication to educating their community about this time in their personal histories. It’s a living space that we strive to update and improve year after year,” said Tricia Berg, Holocaust Museum coordinator. ”We hope that the museum will help to strengthen bonds not only within the Indianapolis Jewish community but also help to educate and connect to the greater Indianapolis area.”

The museum was first started as a student council project in 2016 but was expanded by Middle School students with the help of a grant. Exhibits are added each year by the sixth grade class and art/literature projects are facilitated to help educate students. All exhibits in the museum are student-created as well as all art that hangs in the museum. Each exhibit is interactive and very often, tech-forward to help modernize the educational process.

The ultimate goal is to have a resource and place for the community to visit and learn about the holocaust. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the museum is not currently offering tours at this time.

People can learn more about the museum and instead take a virtual tour, here on the Hasten Hebrew Academy Holocaust Museum website.