Museum honors Holocaust survivors past and present with dedicated portrait gallery

The final Witness to Truth portrait gallery features over 100 portraits of Holocaust survivors.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- "My mother was killed and seeing her picture it means so much," said Eva Brettler, a Holocaust Survivor who was photographed holding a framed picture of her mother.

Brettler was one of over 30 Holocaust survivors who gathered at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance on Thursday for a special event in their honor.

"It's really a day of just celebrating with friends and enjoying delicious food and coming together, which we've not done in two years," said Elana Samuels, the museum's director of museum volunteer services.

The program at the museum included lunch, a video selection and the dedication of the final Witness to Truth portrait gallery with photographs by Pulitzer-prize winning photojournalist Marissa Roth.

Brettler's photograph along with pictures of over 100 other Holocaust survivors can be seen in the gallery.

"That little kid in me is still, even though I'm a grandmother now, the little child in me is still missing her mama," Brettler said.

"This is a great way to get people to remember what was going on a long time ago," said Peter Heiman, another Holocaust survivor. "And it's still happening today."

The inception of the gallery began back in 2005. Now, the final product includes 104 Holocaust survivors and although some of them are no longer living, organizers said it's important to keep their stories alive.

"I think for the survivors sharing their history is very difficult and very painful," Samuels said. "And yet they know how important I think it is, in particular, to pass on their legacy to the young people who come to the Museum of Tolerance."

"Education is one thing that nobody can take away from you and I asked them, 'Please use compassion and don't allow hatred, to be a part of your life,'" Brettler said. "Just giving that message to the next generation. I feel it seems to be still my obligation."

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