Monday marks UN Holocaust Remembrance Day, and events are taking place across the globe. Jan. 27 is the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.
In Pittsburgh, community leaders, scholars and representatives with the Holocaust Center of Greater Pittsburgh used the day to launch the six million pennies campaign.
“Around the community we’re asking kids, teenagers, to take and fill up boxes of pennies” said Holocaust Center Executive Director Joy Braunstein. “Those penny boxes will be decorated and go on display in an interactive exhibit at the Warhol museum on Yom HaShoah weekend. We will be putting boxes up at stores, businesses around the community for people to donate their own pennies.”
The pennies are meant to symbolize the six million Jewish lives lost during the Holocaust, but Braunstein said the pennies will be more than just symbolic.
“The money goes to the Lawrence Community Foundation and comes back to support Holocaust education from the Holocaust Center and other institutions that do amazing work,” she said.
Specifically, the funds will go to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Ghetto Fighters’ Home Museum in Israel, the Center for Genocide Studies and Holocaust Center of Greater Pittsburgh.
Yom HaShoah begins the evening of April 27. Events will be held in schools and other venues leading up to that, and during that weekend. Those events include a multimedia traveling exhibit that will be taken to high schools and colleges in the region, the play “Voice of the Holocaust” will be performed at the Andy Warhol Museum and two Holocaust exhibits will be on installed on April 26 and 27.
On the April 27, the annual Yom HaShoah commemoration will take place at Heinz Hall in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Many of the events at the Warhol are geared toward kids and teenagers.
Holocaust Center Board member Barbara Burstin said it’s important that the younger generations understand the Holocaust and the impact of the tremendous loss of life.
“Six million lives that never had the opportunity to fulfill their dreams, to live their lives,” said Burstin. “These young people have that opportunity and they should really cherish that opportunity, respond to it, make something of themselves, make a contribution to the world.”