By Nathan Duke
Queensborough Community College’s Holocaust resource center will open its long-awaited new building in mid-October following five years of planning for the $6 million facility, the executive director said.
The Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives, which has been named for late Malba philanthropist Harriet Kupferberg and her husband, will officially open the doors of its new site Oct. 18 at Queensborough’s Bayside campus.
The resource center had been located in two rooms of the basement at the school’s library after it was founded in 1983 as the Holocaust Resource Center. But the school renamed the center in 2006 after Kupferberg, who died in 2008, and her husband, Kenneth, who died in 1993, donated $1 million to the facility.
“As we open this amazing facility, we are fulfilling a promise to the millions who stumbled out of the smoke and ashes of Europe as well as to the millions who were brutally transformed into less than a memory,” said Arthur Flug, the center’s executive director. “It is for those, the living and the dead, that we have erected the new Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center.”
The $6 million facility will include a permanent interactive exhibit that merges personal accounts with historical data, a gallery, customized exhibits and catalogs, a program that will train teachers and students about how to deal with hate crimes, a terrace adjacent to the center and a 150-foot space that will be used to host outdoor events.
Flug said he expects turnout at the center to be large, especially considering the number of phone calls from interested borough residents.
“We deal with a large number of Holocaust survivors in the Queens community,” he said. “One of the issues they constantly bring up is that they are getting older and do not want to be forgotten. They are not afraid of dying because they are a tough bunch of people. But they are afraid that what happened to them will be forgotten.”
He said one of the greatest benefits of the center is the connection between Queensborough’s students and Holocaust survivors as well as its hate crimes program.
“Students interview survivors and are completely amazed,” he said. “Our hate crimes curriculum trains teachers and administrators how to identify hate crimes and how to react to them.”
The Kupferberg center will also feature a variety of events, including a series of films created in Hollywood during World War II to needle the Nazi regime as well as a bimonthly program of film, music, speakers, books and discussion groups for Holocaust survivors.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.