In 1942, Hélène Berr was a bright, young French-Jewish woman attending Sorbonne University in Paris. During the next two years of German occupation and Vichy government complicity, her life would begin a downward spiral that ended with her death in a German concentration camp.
She and her parents were eventually deported to Auschwitz in 1944, where they died in concentration camps. In Berr’s case, her demise came just days before British soldiers liberated her camp.
To celebrate her illuminating account in the midst of such treachery, Scottsdale Community College is hosting the “Hélène Berr, A Stolen Life” exhibition from Feb. 27 through May 15 in the lobby of the Student Center, 9000 E. Chaparral Road.
“We are proud to host this exhibit and share the exceptional account of Hélène Berr during this brutal period in world history,” said John Liffiton, coordinator of SCC’s Genocide Awareness Week programming. “Only by documenting these difficult episodes in history, can we learn from them and avoid repeating those tragic outcomes.”
To help celebrate the exhibit, an opening reception is set for Monday, March 9 in the school’s Turquoise Room from 6-8 p.m. It is free and open to the public but RSVPs are required. To attend the opening reception, RSVP to Deborah.email@example.com by March 6.
In addition to featuring the life of Berr and her family through family documents and reproductions of the original diary, other archives that provide historical context of the daily lives of Jews impacted by the Nazi extermination plan will be on display.
The exhibition is part of the 3rd Annual “Genocide Awareness Week: Not On Our Watch” program, which is presented by SCC Honors and other sponsors. It runs April 13-18.
The Scottsdale Independent is available for free every Wednesday.