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September 18, 2014

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Holocaust Resource Center celebrates grand opening

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Becky Bosshart

Kim Nastaszewski, Holocaust Resource Center librarian, says this teapot shows that it was made in the Polish factory of famed Jewish defender Oskar Schindler, subject of the movie “Schindler’s List.” The teapot was donated to the center by a Las Vegas woman who said her mother worked in Schindler’s factory.

Holocaust Resource Center

The center has a small collection devoted to Holocaust victim Anne Frank. She is shown in this picture, on the right, with childhood friend Eva Judd, on the left, who was a Las Vegas resident. Launch slideshow »

After more than eight years tucked away in a business park, the Holocaust Resource Center recently moved more into the public eye.

Las Vegas’ comprehensive source for educational lending materials and programs about the Holocaust is now located in a storefront on South Eastern Avenue. The center has more space for its large collection, special events and meetings.

The center isn’t just about the Holocaust, said Roz Sbarra, secretary to the Governor’s Holocaust Education Council.

“It’s (about) lessons of the Holocaust, and the lessons have not yet been learned,” she said, referring to atrocities still being committed in Africa.

Places like the Holocaust Resource Center provide the means for teaching those lessons, said center librarian Kim Nastaszewski.

The center contains more than 3,000 resources on various Holocaust-related topics, such as Nazism, ghetto life, survivor memoirs, genocide, liberation and Holocaust denial. The collection has a few notable items, such as a teapot reported to have been made in the Polish factory of Oskar Schindler, the subject of the film “Schindler’s List,” and a Nazi uniform, helmet and film camera.

Since 2001, the center was tucked away into the Jewish Federation Building, 2317 Renaissance Drive, which Sbarra said was always difficult to find.

“One of the problems with our other location is that nobody could find us behind the Albertsons,” she said.

Passersby can’t help but see them now off a busy major roadway, beside the Jewish Family Service Agency and Jewish Community Center offices at 4794 S. Eastern Ave.

The collection includes teachers guides, class sets and visual aides. It’s supported by private and public funding. Center officials hope to create an online database of the center’s collection.

Nastaszewski said they may look to doing fundraisers this year because of the uncertainty with the state budget.

The grand opening of the Jewish Family Service Agency Sperling Mack Kronberg Holocaust Resource Center is at 6:30 p.m. today. It will feature a Mezuzah dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony with several Holocaust survivors who often speak at center functions. A Mezuzah is a Jewish prayer placed on a door frame.

The center recently came under the direction of the nonprofit Jewish Family Service Agency. Since it was established in 1980, the center was under the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas.

For information about the ceremony, call 433-0005.

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