Attitudes & Actions: Where Prejudice Can Lead- February through April 1, 2019

The “Rwanda: Personal Images-Artwork by Vivian Bower” exhibit is a reflection of the horror that occurred in Rwanda in the mid-1990s. She used pastel drawings, newspaper clippings, and other mediums to detail the genocide of where 500,000 to 1 million Tutsis were massacred by Hutus. The exhibit is on loan from the Florida Holocaust Museum.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

Photo by Donna Dalziel

FARMINGTON HILLS — The hand that stretched out from the depths of darkness. A tangle of bodies on the ground. Uncertain to be dead or alive. Strips of newspaper clippings that detailed the atrocities of the 100-day massacre embedded into artistic renderings of those images in stark colors of reds, blacks, whites, greys.

The Rwandan genocide due to a civil war that left thousands slaughtered around 1994-1995 was a story that left the world stunned and dismayed as images of death filled the news. The victims were primarily Tutsis — the Rwandan ethnic group.

The images, the pain, sadness, and ache of the country in east Africa is embodied in a Holocaust Memorial Center exhibit, “Rwanda: Personal Images-Artwork by Vivian Bower.”

The exhibit is a series of pastel drawings by Bower on the genocide where 500,000 to 1 million Tutsis were brutally massacred by Hutu friends, family and colleagues, according to a press release. Bower wanted to showcase the events and her pain and feelings. The exhibit is on loan from the Florida Holocaust Museum, according to the release.

The exhibit is part of two other new exhibits revealed this month. The other exhibits showcase the Jehovah’s Witnesses during the Holocaust, and Japanese American Internment during World War II.

Mark Mulder, database and technology manager at the HMC, said in a phone interview that the different exhibits come down to wanting to address a specific kind of issue.

“So our mission is to engage, to educate, and to empower by remembering the Holocaust,” he said. “But we also believe there are lessons of the Holocaust that exist elsewhere, and we thought these three tragedies that are different carry a similar thread through them, which is why there is the overarching title of, attitudes and actions: where can prejudice lead?”

He added that with the exhibit, “The Tragedy of War: Japanese American Internment,” it is about admitting what has happened in the past and “confront it in an honest way.”

The exhibit details how during World War II, 120,000 ethnic Japanese on the west coast were forced into a series of camps to live under armed guard. Two-thirds of them were American citizens. The exhibit focuses on the injustice of Japanese-American confinement and tells their stories.

The exhibit was curated by the Kennesaw State University Museum of History and Holocaust Education in Georgia, according to the release.

The special exhibit, “Jehovah’s Witnesses: Faith Under Fire,” tells the story of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Holocaust and shows an in-depth look at people who followed their conscience when their seemingly was none shown during the Holocaust.

“We take our mission very seriously and remain committed to learning lessons from the Holocaust and applying what we have learned to other genocides. In a world still filled with hate and bigotry, this is more important than ever,” said Rabbi Eli Mayerfeld, CEO of the HMC, in a press release. “The most important lesson we teach is that history is made through a series of choices and that every choice has a consequence. Choices by individuals have power.”

For more information, visit www.holocaustcenter.org or call (248) 553-2400.