Recently, I had the great pleasure of visiting the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine (HHRC), housed at The Michael Klahr Center on the University of Maine Augusta campus. I was able to meet HHRC staff in person, discuss recent events and current priorities, and tour the inspiring exhibits at the Center. This is a visit I highly recommend.
The Michael Klahr Center is named for Michael Klahr, a hidden child of the Holocaust, and tells the moving story of Michael and his family, and his journey from hiding on a rabbit farm during Nazi occupation to settling down and starting his own family here in Maine. The Center features mementos from Michael’s life, artifacts from the Holocaust, permanent and traveling exhibits highlighting historical prejudice and injustice, but also love and hope. The current exhibit, “Reflections on Genocide,” displays written and visual media reflections from University of Southern Maine and Casco Bay High School students. These works of art are powerful, thought provoking, and speak to the importance of telling the true stories of our history, as that is the only way to not repeat past mistakes and be better citizens of the world.
The founding mission and ongoing work of the HHRC is its educational programming. They have doubled their offerings to 12 programs, all free of charge and available to schools and educators statewide. Their programs include anti-bias offerings to teachers and staffs, helping students to recognize and challenge prejudice and hate, using history as an example of the impact of ignoring bigotry, and building brave and welcoming communities. The HHRC has also developed a robust anti-bias toolkit that is available to schools online, as well as summer teacher workshops and programming for community organizations and Senior College. They serve as a critical resource to schools or communities who are grappling with an incident of hate, and are often called in to provide education and tools for healing that meet the moment.
MaineShare is proud to represent and elevate the work of all of our Member Groups, and we look forward to our continued work with the HHRC. Education is a vital part of uplifting us all and ensuring that injustice is brought to light and challenged. We are grateful for the work of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine in our communities, and its aspirational work toward inclusion and dignity for all. To learn more about the HHRC, visit their website!
Images: Educator Alexandra Magnaud teaches a class on Jewish Resistance in the amphitheater at HHRC. Art- Definitions of Light, by Fiona Nichols, Casco Bay High School Class of 2025. Acrylic and paper on canvas, 2022.