Holocaust and Intolerance Museum of New Mexico


Press Room

Welcome to the Press Room for the Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico. Below is an archive of the press releases we have created and distributed, plus articles written about the museum and its activities.

Albuquerque Museum Works to Combat Intolerance Through Education

By Allison Wilson
NewMexicoHomes.com (July, 2015)
Click here to read the article

Gifted Artist with Down's Sydrome and Nazi T-4 Expert Unite for Local Fundraiser

ALBUQUERQUE -- A talented artist with Down's Syndrome joins forces with a renowned expert on the Nazi T-4 program to benefit the Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico (HIMNM) and the Jewish Community Center (JCC) during a fundraiser July 18, starting at 5:30 pm, at the JCC, 5520 Wyoming Blvd. NE.

 The evening kicks off with a reception for Smith Weber-Sandager's art exhibit, "How I see the World," from 5:30--6:30 pm. Guest speaker, Dr. Janet Howe Gaines, follows from 6:30-9 pm with the topic, "Those Who Wore the Black Triangle," regarding the Nazi T-4 program which authorized murdering the handicapped.

"We are thrilled to benefit from this significant effort of unity and peace as we continue to combat all forms of hatred destructively dividing people worldwide," said Jerry Small, HIMNM board vice president. "We all have more similarities than differences. Once that is understood, harmony can flourish." The art exhibit debuts Weber-Sandager's portfolio of colorful, acrylic paintings featuring his upbeat themes of love, patriotism, Israel and nature. His talents have taken him far, particularly in light of what some call "his disability." He may have Down's Syndrome, but an extra chromosome hasn't stopped him from becoming a musician, actor, ballroom dancer, Special Olympics athlete and an artist.

"I like to create my own world through art" he said. "I like to show my family and friends my art because I like painting and drawing; it makes me happy."

Weber-Sandager's parents, Susie and John Sandager, have dedicated themselves to building positive Jewish-Christian relationships through YAD B'YAD. Like his parents, Weber-Sandager, age 31, developed his own appreciation for the Jewish community. Proceeds from the exhibit sales benefit HIMNM, as well as JCC's Arts and Culture programming.

"While traditionally we Christians and Jews sit on opposite sides of many issues, we have more in common to bring us together than differences to separate us," said Susie Sandager, who is also a HIMNM board adviser. "YAD B'YAD, Hebrew for Hand in Hand, was born out of this desire to connect with the Jewish community." Weber-Sandager's art has been previously exhibited at the Council on Developmental Disabilities in Louisville, Kentucky. His formal training includes classes at VSA North Fourth Art Center in Albuquerque and private studies.


Dr. Gaines will present "Those Who Wore the Black Triangle" in her address to a joint meeting of YAD B'YAD, NMHI, Christians United for Israel and Son Broadcasting.

She will discuss the little-known subject of the Nazi T-4 program, a precursor to the Holocaust. Headed by physicians, the T-4 bureaucracy was established with a mandate to kill anyone deemed to have a "life unworthy of living." The Nazis referred to these individuals as "useless eaters" and "burdensome lives."

Weber-Sandager would have worn a black triangle.

Dr. Gaines has taught the Bible, Jewish Literature, and Mythology in the English Department at the University of New Mexico since 1980. She has won the university-wide Outstanding Teacher and Public Service awards, the State of Israel Community Service Award and a Human Rights Humanitarian award from the NAACP. Her book, Music in the Old Bones: Jezebel Through the Ages, was a Jewish book-of-the-month club selection.

A lifelong member of Hadassah, Dr. Gaines is currently a member of the Congregation Albert Board of Trustees and a former board member for the N.M. Rape Crisis Center, Jewish Federation of New Mexico, Jewish Family Service, served on the Advisory Board of the Post Office for New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. For over a decade she was the director of Hillel, the UNM Jewish student group.

The art exhibit and speaker events are free. Refreshments will be served, donated by Weber-Sandager's employer, Subway. In addition, the artist's exhibit will be on display at the JCC July 11 -- Aug. 14.

For more information, contact Jerry Small at (505) 242-7508, or Susie Sandager at (505) 980-2006. The Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico is a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico.

High school juniors invited to register for unique opportunity

The Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico has an excellent volunteer opportunity for high school students approaching their junior year to be greeters this summer. Those who greet this summer could qualify as docents next summer. This rare chance to serve and learn certainly will distinguish students on their college applications. This volunteer opportunity offers students the chance to hone teamwork, customer service, and communication skills. Responsibilities include welcoming visitors, answering the phone, and working in small teams.

A short orientation is scheduled for Saturday, June 1, at 10 a.m. in the museum, 616 Central Avenue SW, Albuquerque. A make-up day will be scheduled for those who can't attend on June 1. Students are encouraged to ask friends to join them. All are welcome.

Register for orientation by May 25 by emailing info@nmholocaustmuseum.org with your name and contact information. Download the volunteer application from our website, http://www.nmholocaustmuseum.org and bring it with you or include it in your registration email. If you have any questions, email info@nmholocaustmuseum.org or call (505) 247-0606.

The museum, a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico, is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Yom HaShoah scheduled for April 7, 2013

Polyphony: Voices of New Mexico directed by Maxine Thévenot will perform The Holocaust Cantata by Donald McCullough at Yom HaShoah 5773, or Holocaust Remembrance Day 2013, on April 7 at 2 p.m. in the sanctuary of Congregation Albert, 3800 Louisiana Boulevard NE, Albuquerque.

First performed in 1998 in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, all of the songs, originally in Polish, were found in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum archives (Aleksander Kuliesiewicz Collection) and were written by prisoners while incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps. The readings are based on interview transcripts, historical data and the story of Irena Augustyfiska Kafka. The Holocaust Cantata contains no plot, rather each song and reading represents a different person and a different time in the Holocaust experience.

Co-sponsored by Congregation Albert, the Jewish Federation of New Mexico, and one of its beneficiary agencies, the Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico, the free community event also will feature a tribute to survivors, the commemorative candle lighting ceremony, and the Community Children's Choir.

Yom HaShoah Ad

Historic Czech Torah Part of Peace Curriculum at the Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE - A Czechoslovakian Torah from the Memorial Scrolls Trust & Museum in London is on display at the Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico as part of an educational initiative promoting peace.

The Torah is one of 1,564 Scrolls, and other Jewish artifacts, salvaged from historic Czech synagogues left destroyed and deserted following the Nazi invasion during World War II.

In 1942, members of Prague's Jewish community devised a way to bring the religious treasures from the deserted provincial communities to the comparative safety of Prague. The Nazis were persuaded to accept this plan and more than 100,000 items were sent to the Central Jewish Museum in Prague. Among them were hundreds of Torah Scrolls. Each was meticulously recorded on a card index by the museum's staff with a description of the Scroll and the place from which it came.

In 1964, the Torah Scrolls were transferred to Westminster Synagogue in London. After months of sorting, examining and cataloguing each Scroll, the task of distributing them began with the aim of returning them to Jewish congregations worldwide. The Memorial Scrolls Trust was established to carry this out. Over the years the racks have grown vacant as one Scroll after another is restored to its rightful place in Jewish life. Currently, there are about 1,400 Scrolls housed all over the world.

Now the only Scrolls available for distribution are those that are returned for a variety of reasons. Congregation B'nai Israel in Albuquerque obtained its Torah several years ago and has agreed to lend it to Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico. The Torah will be the centerpiece in a curriculum aimed at educating young people about the Holocaust and combating hatred.

"This is a way to remind ourselves as to what happened," said Congregation B'nai Israel President Harvey Buchalter. "This is a Torah that once served a congregation that is no more. We've reclaimed some part of Czech Jewry that goes back 2,000 years." Museum official agree.

"If we do not learn from the inhumanities of the past and present, these brutal injustices will continue worldwide," said Jerry Small, museum co-president. "People, especially young people, must not only be aware of this, but also understand it and become active in promoting peace."

The Torah and curriculum will be available until April 2013 at the New Mexico Holocaust & Intolerance Museum at 616 Central Ave. SW, in Albuquerque. Museum hours are 11 a.m. -- 3:30 p.m. Tue -- Sat. For more information call (505) 247-0606, or visit www.nmholocaustmuseum.org.


Volunteers Donate Countless Hours Ensuring Library's Success
"How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world." -- Anne Frank

And, David Lopez, Jeffrey Lucero, Marcia Rosenstein and David Rosenstein aren't waiting a single moment to do their part in improving the world. For the past several months, they've volunteered their time and expertise in developing and organizing a resource library for the Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico.

The library will be open to the public and house thousands of books, articles, videos and other materials for use in research projects, educational programs and presentations about the Holocaust and other inhumanities. It's slow work and they've started from scratch, but these volunteers believe documenting history's injustices will help lead to more peaceful future for generations to come.

"You couldn't ask for more dedicated people," says Jerry Small, museum co-president. "They are very bright and very articulate. We truly appreciate their service in building what we hope will be a wonderful resource for the community."

Marcia Rosenstein is a former teacher with an emphasis on art and library sciences. She and her husband, David, moved to New Mexico from Long Island in 1992. Marcia said she's always enjoyed working with books and when the chance arose to spread that joy, she didn't hesitate in getting involved. Her volunteer work with the library focuses on covering and shelving the books.

"With the speedy way of doing things now using instant media, so much of the public is misinformed about the truth -- people don't take the time to do the research and find the truth," she says. "We need to keep people from hurting each other as much as possible and that's a matter of education and taking the time to get right information. If I can get a few books on the shelves that somebody will look at, maybe that will help change things."

Now retired, David Rosenstein worked as a teacher, assistant principal and principal for 45 years and has always been active in volunteerism. He is currently creating an outreach program for the library enlisting the aid of individuals, synagogues, churches and fraternal organizations in what he calls, "repairing the world."

"I think the world really wants to be good and unless we combat the forces of hatred, the world is doomed," he says. "You can't sit on the sidelines. This is a battle for generations to come. We all have to do what we can to see that the world can be a better place and I'm optimistic about it."

Jeffrey Lucero says much of his education at the University of New Mexico was funded by grants. And, since the community has given him the invaluable gift of education, it's important for him to give back. He is in charge of implementing the Dewey Decimal System for the museum's library.

"I've always been interested in trying to give back to the community," says Lucero. "And, the cause itself is wonderful. Everyone has been victim of bullying, ridicule and hatred whether you're gay, Jewish, or in any minority. Educating the community is the only way we're going to stop it."

David Lopez says he is somewhat of a "professional volunteer" and very active in volunteer work throughout the community.

"I wanted to check out a library on the Holocaust and look through some books but there wasn't a library to do that with," he recalls. "So it was suggested (by museum officials) I get involved in helping to develop one. It's a way of giving back, a good way to meet people and a great way to make yourself part of the community."

In addition to individuals donating their services, organizations have volunteered resources to help make the library become a reality. The Slomo and Cindy Silvian Foundation provided a $6,500 grant in 2011 to bring the library into the 21st century with computers and high-speed internet. The Weinbaum Family of Corrales donated the library cataloguing software. The Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico is a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico.

The library is set to open in April, 2013 at the museum's downtown Albuquerque location, 616 Central Ave. SW. Museum hours are 11 a.m. -- 3:30 p.m. Tue -- Sat. For more information call (505) 247-0606, or visit www.nmholocaustmuseum.org.

The Flossenb�rg Flag Hangs High at the Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico

A piece of the past helps pave the way toward a better tomorrow.

The Flossenbürg Flag

ALBUQUERUQUE - A well-worn likeness of the United States Flag seasoned with significant history and momentous meaning hangs on the wall at the Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico. Its presence is a critical reminder and its existence an everlasting symbol of strength, survival and hope for a better world.

Concentration camp prisoners created the flag during World War II at Flossenbürg Concentration Camp, Germany, where captives labored in a granite quarry. The flag's stars and stripes were most likely painted over a Nazi banner.

Once the war ended, the inmates (not knowing who would liberate them) created at least three flags: Russian, British, and American. It was the Americans who marched into the camp on April 23, 1945. Prisoners hung the U.S. flag on a barbed-wire fence as a gesture of appreciation.

The following month, a Medical Collecting Company of the Third Army entered the camp. Dr. Roy Shaffer, then a teenaged medic, was part of that group.

A Hidden Dollhouse is More Than a Hidden Treasure for the Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico

Kitchen and kitty by Ann Powers

In World War II millions of people went into hiding to escape the Nazis. And, so did a dollhouse.

The Holocaust and Intolerance Museum of New Mexico is honored to now be the permanent home of "Hidden Treasures" -- an incredible exhibit showcasing a 158-year-old dollhouse hidden away during World War II, while its German-Jewish family owners fled to New Mexico for safety from Hitler's regime.

The dollhouse dates back to 1853 in Bad-Homburg, Germany (near Frankfurt am Main) when its first room, a small kitchen with a table and meat block with cleaver, was created for Frederika Frohman, future wife of William Ilfeld. Five additional rooms were added for subsequent generations of girls: a living room for Frederika and William's daughter Laura, a bedroom for Laura's daughter Edith, a well-furnished kitchen, and the largest room for Edith's daughter Lilo. It includes an old-fashioned coal stove, a waffle iron and bone cutlery. The fifth and final room, a bathroom, was created for Lilo's daughter Lora in 1967, complete with furnishings from Germany.


State assocation gives museum special honor

The museum is proud to announce that it is the 2010 recipient of The Hewett Award for leadership or service to the museum community statewide. The award was given by the New Mexico Association of Museums in November. The museum was nominated by Roxanne Witt Celeskey of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, because she believes:

"[the museum's] mission of educating the public about the impact that persecution on any particular group has on an entire society is of critical importance to the community. I think Albuquerque is fortunate to have a museum that is dedicated to combating hate and prejudice and advocating for peace and acceptance."

The award is named for Edgar Lee Hewett, a UNM anthropology professor who served as the first director of The Museum of New Mexico from 1909 until his death in 1946. He encouraged the development of small museums throughout New Mexico.

Lyn Berner, museum staff, said "This honor recognizes the efforts of docents who speak to thousands of school children and other visitors each year and the volunteers who have dedicated so much time and effort through a variety of projects which address the issues of hate and intolerance."

November 2010 - Holocaust Museum Receives Award, The New Mexico Jewish Link, p. 3.

August 2006 - Fighting the Fires of Hate Exhibit: Opening Reception and Presentation for Fighting the Fires of Hate: America and the Nazi Book Burnings with Guest Speaker Renee Firestone

February 2005 - New Mexico Holocaust and Intolerance Museum features African American "Freedom From Slavery" Exhibit in Commemoration of Black History Month (press release)

See January 2005 - Memory of Holocaust Lives On (as printed in the Albuquerque Journal)

See January 2005 - Holocaust Museum Elects New Officers (as printed in the New Mexico Jewish Link)

October 2004 - Exhibit Devoted to Heroism Displayed by Oskar Schindler During Holocaust (as printed in the Albuquerque Journal)

April 2004 - Museum in Dire Need of Volunteers (as printed in the New Mexico Jewish Link)

February 2004 - NM Holocaust & Intolerance Museum Honors Black History Month (press release)

October, 2002 Newsletter (Adobe Acrobat Format, 128 KB)

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March 2002 - New Mexico Holocaust & Intolerance Museum Provides Teacher Training on Intolerance (State of New Mexico - Department of Education)