Berks Military History Museum provided World War II artifacts for an exhibit in the state Capitol on Wednesday, International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
State Rep. Mark M. Gillen, president and founder, trucked part of the Mohnton museum’s Holocaust exhibit to Harrisburg for the solemn observance.
Gillen spoke to a session of the House, marking the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the death camp in Auschwitz, Poland.
In his remarks, he stressed the need to never forget that dark chapter in world history.
“We need to facilitate education about the Holocaust to younger generations,” said Gillen, a member of the House Education Committee. “With the passing of the World War II generation, the torch is passed to us to carry on Holocaust remembrance into the future.”
Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz on Jan. 27, 1945, revealing to a stunned world the depth of the atrocities inflicted on Jews, political prisoners and others deemed undesirable by Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.
In designating the day of remembrance in 2005, the United Nations General Assembly urged nations to develop education programs about the horrors of genocide. The resolution also condemned religious intolerance, incitement, harassment and violence based on ethnic origin or religious belief.
“Anti-Semitism is a problem we’ve had since biblical times,” Gillen said, “and it’s a problem that endures today.”
While the Capitol is closed to visitors, workers in the building visited the exhibit in the rear of the Hall of the House.
On display were uniforms worn by prisoners in concentration camps, photos of the infamous Warsaw Ghetto and arm bands that identified their wearers as Jews.
“There was really strong interest,” Gillen said. “This is a nonpartisan issue.”
The exhibit was dismantled Wednesday afternoon and transported back to the Mohnton museum in a truck provided by Penske Leasing.
The museum’s Holocaust exhibit was unveiled last year in honor of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II on Sept. 2, 1945. It occupies an entire gallery in the museum, which is at 198 E. Wyomissing Ave.
The Berks Military history is open Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Special tours can be arranged by calling 484-345-8084.