A committee against anti-Semitism in Fredericton is hoping a new, pop-up exhibit at the Beaverbook Art Gallery will help better educate New Brunswickers on the Jewish faith and the Holocaust.
Creator Jasmine Kranat feels the exhibit is needed in New Brunswick.
“The major take-away would be for them to educate themselves further on the Holocaust, talk about it,” she said. “When they hear someone being anti-Semitic, distorting or denying the Holocaust, they’ll have the tools to say , ‘Actually, that is incorrect.'”
“We’re living in an age where anti-Semitism is on the rise and hatred in many different forms is being unleashed against many different groups in society,” said Larry Finkelman, a member of the Fredericton Jewish community.
“I think it’s incumbent on all of us to speak up.”
The exhibit is an educational walkthrough of photos, propaganda posters, and individual stories that provide a look at the people and communities that were destroyed by the Holocaust. The committee believes it also fills in the gaps that they believe the New Brunswick education system has missed.
Members of Fredericton’s Jewish community hope the exhibit helps put an end to bigotry towards Jewish people.
“It wasn’t that long ago, in March of 2021, when there were protests and they were using the Holocaust images to make a comparison between anti-vaccination restrictions and Holocaust victims,” Finkelman said. “And that comparison is just not able to be made.”
“Years ago, growing up, people didn’t understand. They think you’re different but your not,” said Shelley Stephens, who says she grew up facing prejudice for being Jewish in Fredericton.
“It’s just different traditions, different culture. I think if everyone got together, the world would be a better place.”
There hasn’t been a Holocaust-related exhibit at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery since 1997.
“This is the first time in over 20 years that we have something here today, so I think that’s significant,” Kranat said. “Speaking out against discrimination and racism in our province, I think that education is a tool that we need in our community to be able to prevent this and that’s what I hope the community takes away from this exhibit.”
“Everything is education. The more knowledge, the less hate,” Stephens said.
In May, Kranat plans to have students visit the exhibit at the Synagogue and hopes later, it can travel around to other galleries and spaces throughout the province.
The exhibit comes to an end Sunday evening.