Intolerance is nothing new to humanity. Throughout human history individuals, and even entire ethnic and religious groups have been targeted not just for harassment, but for extinction. This spring several organizations in the community will come together to promote diversity and tolerance.
The Arts Council opens two exhibits on March 18: Art and Propaganda in Nazi-Occupied Holland and Anne Frank: A History for Today. Anne Frank: A History for Today was developed by the Anne Frank House and is sponsored in North America by the Anne Frank Center USA.
Unlike previous exhibits, visitors won’t enter through the front door. No, the exhibit opens in the Arts Council basement amid dirt and debris — a space reminiscent of a bombed-out building, dark and devastated; a potential hiding place for someone who is a afraid and on the run. Once inside, the walls are lined with Dutch Resistance Art and offi cial propaganda from the World War II era. There are original posters that were used by the Nazi-controlled Dutch government; linoleum and woodcut prints created by Marie de Zaaijer that show the hardships suffered in Holland during World War II; and original drawings created by Henri Pieck when he was interned at Buchenwald Concentration Camp.
Amid the oppressive propaganda that urges people to “support the heroic struggle of the German Wehrmacht against the dark forces of Bolshevism,” is a dusty furnace door that leads to what could have made a safe haven for any of the numerous “undesirables” targeted by the Nazi party during that time period. As visitors move to the upstairs exhibit, there is a stop along the way to the main gallery to watch a 28-minute video, The Short Life of Anne Frank. From there the tour concludes with Anne Frank: A History for Today, which is a timeline of the story of the Holocaust through the life of Anne Frank.
“This tells the story of the Holocaust and it introduces people to the great history of World War II,” said Marketing Director at Arts Council of Fayetteville/ Cumberland County, Mary Kinney. “It talks a lot about the importance of individual action whether then or now.”
There are several other free exhibits throughout the community in March and April that parallel the message of the Anne Frank exhibits. From April 1-May 22, Cumberland County Public Library and Information Center will host a multimedia traveling exhibit from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The exhibit showcases how book burning played a part in America’s battle against Nazism. From March 18 - April 21 the Fayetteville Transportation and Local History Museum will exhibit A History of Fayetteville’s Jewish Community. Images, information, and artifacts tell the story about the positive impact of Jewish emigrants on the economic, social and cultural welfare of the local community.
The Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex examines intolerance through a different lens with an exhibit called Fayetteville and the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898. Propaganda and race relations are closely linked in America, even as far back at the late 1800s. This exhibit examines the struggle that took place in Wilmington and Fayetteville’s response and connections.
The JFK Special Warfare Museum offers a look at many of the propaganda posters used by different organizations during World War II. The four major themes in this exhibit are Support of Allied efforts; Security, Homeland Conservation and Production and War Bonds. The 82nd Airborne Division Museum has artifacts the division captured from the Dutch National Socialist movement during World War II on display. There is an additional exhibit featuring the liberation of Wobbelin concentration camp. The Airborne and Special Operations Museum features several examples of American propaganda posters from the World War II-era.
Beth Israel Congregation invites the public to a community observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and Cape Fear Regional Theatre will present Olivier Messiaen’s “Quatuor pour la fi n du temps” (“Quartet for the End of Time”) and selected readings from a stage adaptation of the Diary of Anne Frank.
For more information, visit www.theartscouncil. com or call 323-1776.
Photo credit: ©AFS/AFF Amsterdam/Basel