Letter: Letters Home

Holocaust Museum in Naples hosts exhibit of mail from behind the Nazi walls

By Amy Snyder – Naples Executive director, Holocaust Museum & Education Center of Southwest Florida
Read the article on NaplesNews.com

The Holocaust Museum & Education Center of Southwest Florida is getting personal, and what could be more personal than to read someone else’s mail?

Now through Nov. 30, the museum will host the traveling exhibit, Letters Home.

This exhibit offers visitors an intimate glimpse into the lives of those who endured the ghettos and camps of the Holocaust.

Often with oddly hopeful messages, the letters give us a glimmer of understanding about what life was like for people caught up in those terrible times.

These brief, intimate glimpses are what remembrance is all about — remembering the humanity of each person lost.

Some of the mail took five months to reach America.

Created by Orlando-area artist Anita Lam in 2006, the display uses correspondence and memorabilia donated to the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida, located in Maitland, by Henry Mayer of Longwood.

The collection — originally called the Fox Collection after its original owner, Dr. Frank Fox of Merion, Pa., consists of about 189 original documents, postcards, stamps, insignia and currency from the ghettos and camps of Nazi Europe.

In addition, various letters and postage stamps from our museum’s own archive will he displayed as well.

The Faktor Collection came to us about two years ago. Stanley and Sally Factor (Faktor) lived in Naples, but had no children. When they passed away, the woman who bought their house found all this paperwork and brought it to the museum.

We’ve been able to trace a little bit about them. They met in Berlin, it seems, married in Czechoslovakia and came to the U.S. in 1936. Some family members were also able to be sponsored and got out, but Stanley’s parents ended up in a ghetto in Romania and most likely died there.

In reading these letters, each person can begin to see the threads that hold humanity together. Once identified, those threads can become the building blocks for our shared existence.

The Holocaust Museum is an outgrowth of a Collier County middle school student exhibit and has just celebrated its first decade as an educational organization and is embarking upon its second. The community is invited to share in this next decade of accomplishment by visiting, showing support through membership or assisting us in achieving our future vision.

For more information, visit www.holocaustmuseumswfl.org or call 239-263-9200.

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