Elgin Community College’s Global/International Studies Team (GIST) and English Department are bringing the traveling exhibit, “Jehovah’s Witnesses: Faith Under Fire,” to campus from Oct. 30 to Nov. 29. The display, created by the Arnold-Liebster Foundation, showcases the relatively unknown story of the suffering and hardships endured by the Jehovah’s Witness community in Nazi Germany.
The exhibition opens with a presentation from Greg and Sandra Milakovich, US representatives for the foundation, on Oct. 30 from 12 to 1 p.m. in Seigle Auditorium, Building E. The program includes a Skype session with 89-year-old Holocaust survivor and foundation co-founder Simone Arnold Liebster of Alsace, France. Arnold Liebster was 12 when she was sent to a Nazi re-education facility while her parents were sent to concentration camps.
The exhibit features 13 story panels where viewers can read about and see images of the conditions faced by Jehovah’s Witnesses in Nazi-occupied territory. It will be on display in Building B, 1700 Spartan Drive in Elgin.
“This exhibit was chosen to shed light on the little-known history of the marginalization and persecution of peaceful resisters to the Nazi regime,” said Ginger Alms, ECC English professor and GIST committee member. “The resolve and quiet dignity of the Witnesses during this period showed how individuals could make a difference. Their story can inspire people today to stand up against hatred and violence, no matter what others do.”
The Witnesses’ story speaks to faith and courage since they had the option to seek relief by signing a declaration to recant their faith and give their allegiance to Hitler. Because they refused to abandon their beliefs, Jehovah’s Witnesses were also targeted for persecution and execution.
For more information regarding the Arnold-Liebster Foundation and educational resources, visit www.alst.org.