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New exhibit features Holocaust survivors in San Diego

RUTH: Remember Us The Holocaust opens Sunday
Posted at 11:20 AM, May 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-19 14:20:38-04

EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) — A new Holocaust exhibit in San Diego County uses the stories of survivors currently living in the area to teach about perseverance and hope.

"RUTH: Remember Us The Holocaust" opens Sunday at the Rancho San Diego Library in El Cajon.

"It's a long time coming," says Jack Morgenstern, whose mother Gussie survived the Holocaust.

"It's so important because they're dying off," he adds. "There's very few survivors left and what's going to happen in 10 or 15 years when there's no one left? Who's going to tell the story?"

RUTH uses life-sized cut-out pictures of survivors who currently live in San Diego. It also has information about survivors who passed away recently. And it has a separate room with images of concentration camps to help people understand what the Holocaust was like for the people who lived through it.

Exhibit curator Scheller, whose mother Ruth was a survivor, says letting people come "face to face" with a survivor is a unique experience for many people.

"You can look in their eyes, see their teeth, see what they're wearing," she says.

This is the second time Scheller has curated a RUTH exhibit in San Diego County. In 2020, she opened an exhibit at the Chula Vista Library.

This one is more expansive, with more of a focus on survivors instead of artifacts from the Holocaust.

A recent $25,000 grant from the County helped fund the current exhibit, which will be at the Rancho San Diego Library for the next year. Scheller hopes this is the seed that grows into a full-fledged San Diego Holcaust Museum.

"We need a museum," she says. "It's that simple, we need a museum. (This history) needs to be preserved. There needs to be a place for people to come together and learn. They need to learn."

The exhibit is free and open to the public. It's available any time the library is open.