San Antonio Public Library
Contact: Haley Holmes, Haley.firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Initiative: Inclusion/Tolerance
Community Partners: Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio and the San Antonio Public Library Foundation
2017 marks the 5th annual Holocaust: Learn & Remember series of programming for the San Antonio Public Library. The 2017 theme “Refuge in the Americas” focused on Jews who had fled the Holocaust and immigrated through Latin American countries. The San Antonio Public Library partnered with the Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio, and the San Antonio Public Library Foundation. The campaign received media coverage and the communication campaign was strong and it included: Invitations, flyers, post cards, Facebook posts, and other social media platforms.
Three local survivors spoke about their experiences and the difficulties they faced on their journeys, being turned away by various governments as they sought sanctuary. Since these survivors learned Spanish through immigration and San Antonio is a bilingual City, two Spanish language programs were included to allow Spanish speakers an opportunity to hear the testimonies as well.
Another program held at the Central Library featured Isaac Artenstein, award winning director and producer of works such as Ballad of an Unsung Hero (1983), Break of Dawn (1990), Love Always (1996), and A Day without a Mexican (2004). He discussed Tijuana Jews, a one-hour documentary shown in festivals all around the world. The film tells the story of thousands of European Jews who sailed to Mexico in the early twentieth century and provides insights into the experiences of the local pioneers who established the Jewish community in the region. Artenstein also showed previews of his recent work documenting Jewish communities in the US Southwest. By presenting programming about the Holocaust, the Library seeks to educate the public about the horrors of genocide and the plight of those trying to escape persecution. Hearing the story of someone who survived the Holocaust is a meaningful experience, and as the survivors age, the opportunities are dwindling.