NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A groundbreaking exhibition in New York is presenting a collection of original objects from Auschwitz.
The historic artifacts are in America for the first time ever, reports CBS2’s Steve Overmyer.
Ray Kaener was a teenager when she was taken to the infamous extermination camp.
“The soldiers came to her hospital and started to throw the children into the trucks,” the Holocaust survivor said. “One day then the cattle car comes and we all marched in.”
Web Extra: Museum Board Chair Explains New Exhibition
On Thursday, Kaener was at the Museum of Jewish Heritage where the largest exhibition ever about Auschwitz was unveiled.
It is a tribute to the 6 million Jews who died, but also a warning.
“If we don’t take the lessons of what Auschwitz represents, and don’t understand where hate can lead, God forbid these things can happen again and they do in a certain measure,” said the museum’s George Klein.
A decade of curation has delivered more than 700 items – and most importantly, first hand accounts and important of stories like Kaener’s.
“To tell them they should carry on what I can’t do anymore, that this existed,” she said. “That this hate should never happen to any human being.”
Web Extra: Largest U.S. Auschwitz Exhibition Unveiled
Students from a local high school spent the day looking, learning, and listening.
“I realize how important it is to hear from them in person and carry on their story,” said Lucy Doft, a junior at The Ramaz School. “It’s so important to hear exactly what they went through and how they felt. It’s nothing you can really learn in a classroom.”
Children huddled around the survivors as they shared their tales.
“You carry on because I’m not going to be here forever,” said Kaener. “There’s very few survivors around, so that’s why I’m speaking to you.”
As the survivors dwindle, the young generation plays a big role in making sure the stories are not forgotten.
The travelling exhibit opens to the public next Wednesday and runs through the end of the year. For more information, see the museum’s website at MJHNYC.org/exhibitions/auschwitz.