Holocaust exhibition in Central features concentration camp art

Wartime drawings and other exhibits aim to educate local children about war and tolerance

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 October, 2013, 8:02am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 October, 2013, 8:02am

Organisers of an exhibition on the Holocaust featuring artwork by pupils from Hong Kong schools hope it will teach local children about the second world war, as well as issues surrounding racism and tolerance.

Called "An Oasis of Survival and Hope", the exhibition is on the Central Market walkway - between Queen's Road Central and Des Voeux Road Central.

It also features art created by children at the Theresienstadt concentration camp, in what is now the Czech Republic, which housed 150,000 Jews, 15,000 of them children, and information panels about the Holocaust perpetrated against Jews and other minorities by the German Nazi regime, and on other genocides.

The exhibition runs until November 14, and organiser the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre hopes that it will be a useful learning tool for children. The centre is based in Shau Kei Wan and is a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting education and awareness of the Holocaust across Asia.

"Our goals are to promote tolerance and understanding in Hong Kong for future generations," the centre's administrator, Nicole Izsak, said.

"We have visited more than 25 schools in Hong Kong. These visits included screenings of Holocaust-related films, and visits by Holocaust survivors who shared their experiences with pupils. This latest exhibition is another extension of this work.

"Our goal is to become an international resource centre by making accessible, locally relevant material in English, Chinese and other regional languages."

More than 33,000 Jews died at Theresienstadt between 1941 and its liberation in 1945. Nearly 90,000 were transported further east to death camps, of whom barely 17,000 survived.

Austrian artist Friedl Dicker-Brandeis spent her time at the camp teaching children art and painting as a form of therapy. Some 4,500 drawings were recovered, and some of those are on display at the Central Market.

The city has sometimes displayed insensitivity over the use of Nazi symbols. In 2003, the owner of Bar Pacific, in Hung Hom, received complaints from the German and Israeli consulates over a display of photographs of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and Nazi troops. They included a German soldier executing a prisoner over a trench full of bodies, and framed photos of Hitler addressing a Nazi rally. In 1998, Apple Daily used a picture of Hitler in a World Cup special.