The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, recently announced a forthcoming exhibit called “Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far way,” set to open in March 2023.
It will bring together over 700 original objects of “great historic and human value, objects which were direct witnesses of the horrors of Auschwitz and the Holocaust.”
The objects, the library notes on its website, “serve as the guiding thread of a rigorous and moving account on the history of the German Nazi camp Auschwitz and its dwellers, both victims and perpetrators.”
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An authentic World War II-era German National Railway freight car will also be on display — a freight car as in the ones used to transport innocent human beings to brutal concentration camps.
The exhibit will also feature over 400 photos from more than 20 institutions and museums around the world.
“Most of these objects have never been shown to an audience on the West Coast before,” the library says.
A Los Angeles-area Auschwitz survivor, David Lenga, age 95 and born in Poland, spoke recently at the library during the exhibit’s announcement.
He shared thoughts about the event with Fox News Digital via email, saying he was “honored” to “tell the bitter truth of the Holocaust to an apathetic world. I was privileged and eager to speak at the important event announcing the historic Auschwitz exhibit at the Reagan Presidential Library.”
“For Holocaust deniers and doubters, this exhibit is a stark reminder that truth cannot be compromised but must be faced head-on and defended in every generation.”
He added, “For Holocaust deniers and doubters, this exhibit is a stark reminder that truth cannot be compromised but must be faced head-on and defended in every generation.”
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Lenga has previously described — in comments captured by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Foundation — how his “wonderful life” growing up in Poland with his family “came to an abrupt end, on Sept. 1, 1939,” when he was just 11 years old.
That’s “when Hitler’s army brutally overran and invaded Poland,” he said.
“My life then entered a nightmare.”
“What followed, in short, was persecution, brutality toward the Jewish people, separation of families, incarceration in ghettos, deportations to slave labor camps and exterminations in camps like Auschwitz, Dachau and Kaufering.”
He said he “went through six years of living hell of war. I survived by the skin of my teeth, and by sheer luck. I lost my entire family which, including my extended family, numbered close to 100 people!”
He also said, “I was so fortunate to find out later, after liberation, that my dear dad also survived — only two survivors out of 100.”
Lenga was “liberated by the American Army,” he said, on May 5, 1945.
“I was so fortunate to find out later, after liberation, that my dear dad also survived — only two survivors out of 100.”
“I was only 17 years old.”
Another Holocaust survivor, Joe Alexander, was also present at the ceremony announcing the Holocaust exhibit at the Reagan Library.
He said in comments shared with Fox News Digital, “It meant so much to me to be a part of the program [announcing the museum exhibit], especially when the boxcar was brought in. It was so emotional for me to see that boxcar, as I was on boxcars like that four times as I was taken from camp to camp.”
He added, “It’s important for people to go to the Reagan Library to see the boxcar and understand what it means.”
The Reagan Library notes that it “strives to be a cultural resource and educational institution” for the community and the country.
The traveling exhibit will make its West Coast premiere at the Reagan Library.
It’s hosting this exhibit, a spokesperson said, because the team feels “it is an important and timely reminder to the public and would have been important to President Reagan.”
The traveling exhibit will make its West Coast premiere at the Reagan Library. The exhibit there will run from March 24, 2023, through Aug. 13, 2023.
Throughout his presidency, Ronald Reagan said that people should never forget the Holocaust.
He noted in a speech he gave in October 1988 that “the deaths [of six million Jews] have posthumous meaning. We must make sure that from now until the end of days all humankind stares this evil in the face, that all humankind knows what this evil looks like and how it came to be. And when we truly know it for what it was, then and only then can we be sure that it will never come again.”
In that same speech, given to honor the building and creation of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. (which subsequently opened in April 1993), he said that “the word ‘evil’ is insufficient to describe the Holocaust … What we saw there, at Treblinka and Belsen and Auschwitz and Dachau, was the image of the inferno.”
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He added, “That may have been the ultimate purpose of those who made the Holocaust: a grotesque effort to hurl the Earth into the very pit of the serpent.”
He also said, “I believe the Holocaust is comprehensible. Indeed, we must comprehend it. We have no choice; the future of mankind depends upon it.”
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Tickets for the Reagan Library’s exhibit, “Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far way” are available on the library’s website, reaganlibrary.gov.