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New renovations unveiled at the Zekelman Holocaust Center’s grand re-opening event

By AJ Walker

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    FARMINGTON HILLS, Michigan (WWJ) — The grand re-opening ceremony at the Zekelman Holocaust Center in Farmington Hills marked the historic transformation of its core exhibit. The event also showed the importance of remembering the Holocaust.

As Edith Kozlowski, a Holocaust survivor, took the stage to celebrate the Zekelman Holocaust Center’s exhibits, she and others who lived through that horrific time, were present to make sure this story is never forgotten.

Kozlowski is 101 years old and the memories of the painful genocide she survived still haunt her.

“When we came to Auschwitz, the Germans selected us. You go right, you go left. They had left and right to choose who’s going to go to the oven and who’s going to be left,” Kozlowski said. “I went to my two sisters and said, if they’ll choose you to go left, I imagine that’s bad. But I’m the oldest, and I’m going to be with you as long as I can.”

Kozlowski said sadly her two sisters eventually died of natural causes at Auschwitz.

She said she is blessed to have lived and is now a great-grandmother.

For many there to commemorate the moment, the cutting of the ribbon symbolized perseverance and the importance of love and tolerance.

“I think understanding that the Holocaust was the murder of six million Jews because people made poor choices, because Germans and their collaborators throughout Europe made a choice to murder their neighbors, and for people to understand that comes from a series of choices,” Rabbi Eli Mayerfeld, CEO of the Zekelman Holocaust Center said.

Catherine Sattler is 99-years-old. She is also a Holocaust survivor. She said she was happy to see so many people turn out to see the exhibits and learn more.

“They are reading all the things on the wall, and they are really blessed,” Sattler said.

As Holocaust survivors age and pass away, Rabbi Eli Mayerfield stresses the importance of their voices.

“We have to make sure those messages are still told, so we have over 30 interviews that we’ve included in the exhibit,” Mayerfeld said.

While these exhibits have captured the pain of the Holocaust, they have also captured the resilience of the Jewish people. Kozlowski had one final message and advice to try to prevent similar atrocities from happening again.

“Be good to each other, think of the next person,” Kozlowski said.

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