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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Maitland's Holocaust Memorial Center stands firm behind 'Uprooting Prejudice' exhibit after online outrage

Posted By on Wed, Dec 16, 2020 at 4:19 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY THE HOLOCAUST CENTER, MAITLAND
  • Photo courtesy the Holocaust Center, Maitland
Maitland's Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center opened the photographic exhibition Uprooting Prejudice: Faces of Change in November, and despite a bubbling up of online outrage, the institution is not backing down on this exhibit.

The show features a series of black-and-white portraits taken by Minneapolis photographer John Noltner in the days immediately following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. Noltner took photos of gathered demonstrators and conducted brief interviews with them. Uprooting Prejudice combines 45 portraits of the people and their spur-of-the-moment words.



“The expressions and thoughts of each person photographed tells a story that has a very universal message," said Lisa Bachman, the Center's Assistant Executive Director, at the time of the exhibit's opening. "It is one that can heal and bring us together.”

As reported by Forward, however, Uprooting Prejudice soon caught the attention of right-wing outlets like Breitbart, Daily Caller and American Renaissance (yes, that American Renaissance) and various Twitter users – none of whom, it should be noted, viewed the full exhibit – seemingly outraged that these portraits were displayed in a Holocaust museum and mischaracterizing the exhibition. (One U.K. commentator even threw out the whopper that the exhibit equated the police with the Nazis.)

Soon enough, the Center was on the receiving end of an "onslaught" of "hate and vile comments" via phone and email, in the words of the Center’s executive director, Pam Kancher.

In a blog written for the Times of Israel at the end of November, Bachman defended the exhibit and said it aligned with the mission of the Center.

"With the rise in antisemitism, racism and many other forms of hate, we know this exhibit is more important now than ever," wrote Bachman. "The center sees this as an opportunity to wholeheartedly reaffirm its mission which is to use the history and lessons of the Holocaust to build a just and caring community free of antisemitism and all forms of prejudice and bigotry."

The staff at the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center are standing firm behind the exhibit.

“People who have formed an opinion without seeing it were not supporters of our Center to begin with,” said Kancher to Forward.

“We are not just a memorial to the Holocaust. We mean ‘Never again’ for everybody.”

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