Fredericton resident Jasmine Kranat wanted to create an accessible way to teach New Brunswickers about the Holocaust — more than what classrooms and textbooks are currently offering.
“The idea stemmed from last year when people were comparing the vaccine mandates to the Holocaust,” said Kranat, who created a travelling Holocaust Museum in Fredericton.
“And while I was trying to educate people, I realized that there definitely was a lack of education on, ‘What is the Holocaust?’”
Since moving to Canada from the United Kingdom 16 years ago, Kranat became a member of her synagogue’s antisemitism committee.
Now, she has created the grassroots Travelling Holocaust Museum, which she hopes will provide a more in-depth education on the Holocaust.
“It stems from my experience with antisemitism since a young age,” explained Kranat.
“Before my parents moved here, the catalyst of that was an event where I was a victim of a violent anti-Semitic attack, and when we moved here, I realized that a lot of my friends here, a lot of my peers at school had never met a Jewish person.”
Kranat says she was inspired by what she saw at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
Visitors to the travelling museum each get a booklet that allows them to take on the story of someone during the Holocaust; they follow along info panels, learning whether their person survived or died.
“They had the opportunity to go through, and then at the end they wrote some incredible reflections on the reflection wall, and also privately, these students, they talked about how much they learned and how much they appreciated it,” she said.
“The best way to combat antisemitism and Holocaust denial is educating from a young age.”
Dr. Israel Unger, a Holocaust survivor living in Fredericton, recorded his story to share as part of the project.
“In teaching about the Holocaust, what I hope happens is that students learn what the end result of hatred is,” Unger said.
“Hatred is never right and compassion is never wrong, and if that message comes across to students, then a lot has been accomplished,” he said.
So far, Kranat has had 220 students visit her travelling museum, but she has big dreams for its future.
“So, the next steps are to establish a permanent space in Fredericton,” she said.
“We don’t have a Holocaust museum in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia or P.E.I., so the plan is to bring something to here.”
Kranat hopes to open the exhibit to the public later this year.