PARIS, Dec. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Two grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, Father Patrick Desbois, President and Founder of Yahad-In Unum and Mira Maylor, a Jewish Israeli artist, work together to bring a remarkable exhibit to a remarkable place-the Museo del Holocausto in Guatemala, Central America's only Holocaust museum. Marco Gonzalez, YIU Executive Director: 'Teaching the consequences of indifference can be the key to institute change in a violent society.'
The museum was founded by Yahad-In Unum (YIU)-whose name comes from the Hebrew and Latin words for 'together'-a French, Christian organization dedicated to locating mass graves of Jewish and Roma victims of Nazi genocide in Eastern Europe.
YIU itself was founded by Father Patrick Desbois following a stark realization during a visit to Rava-Ruska, Ukraine to the place where his grandfather was imprisoned during World War II.
When Desbois asked where the roughly 10,000 Jews murdered were buried, he got no answers. Through careful research and interviews, he discovered the unmarked forest graves of thousands of forgotten people. "I realized they were left like animals," said Desbois. "My shock when confronted with this fact is difficult to describe."
YIU has since expanded significantly and has located and documented over 3,000 killing sites in Eastern Europe, providing valuable information for scholars and the families of victims.
With a wealth of data, interviews and experience, YIU founded the Museo de Holocausto in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
The choice of Guatemala is symbolic in that it is a country recovering from a bloody civil war that claimed the lives of over 200,000 people. Moreover, due to the fact that the Guatemalan Ministry of Education has passed a law requiring all students to study the Holocaust, the lessons from Nazi crimes have urgent and modern importance, especially to the young.
Mira Maylor, the Israeli artist putting on the exhibition at the museum, creates powerful three-dimensional art using glass, iron and wood, to address borders of morality and human choices.
"A museum which details the historic tragedy of the Holocaust should appeal to Guatemalans, who have also suffered greatly from war," said Maylor. "It may be cliché, but art is a universal language that can cross any border and I hope the humanity displayed here serves to inspire people to abandon violence."
PHOTO FROM THE EXHIBITION
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SOURCE Yahad-In Unum