Team led by GVSU expert creates website to honor West Michigan Holocaust survivors
June 30, 2022
A team led by a Grand Valley Holocaust scholar has created a website with a mission to educate the community by telling the comprehensive stories of West Michigan Holocaust survivors. Rob Franciosi, professor of English, has been working with a team that includes GVSU students and a graduate. The group was charged with doing research and designing the website, the West Michigan Holocaust Memorial.
The website, part of the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids, has been
created as an educational tool to accompany the new Holocaust
sculpture, "Ways to Say Goodbye," at the Frederik Meijer
Gardens & Sculpture Park. The sculpture by artist Ariel
Schlesinger is a gift from the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids. The
gift was made possible by a donation from the Pestka family in memory
of their father, Henry, who was a Holocaust survivor, and the millions
of Jews who died in the Holocaust, according to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture
Park. The dedication of the sculpture was slated for June 30.
Franciosi said he was invited to be part of a group exploring ideas for educational materials to accompany the sculpture, something he said was important to the Pestka family. He said he suggested creating "story maps" of West Michigan Holocaust survivors that detailed where they came from, their experiences during the Holocaust and their lives in the United States; the group later decided to create a website to present this information.
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