HOUSTON, TX (Aug. 16, 2011) – Houstonians can honor members of the United States armed forces by donating care package items and writing letters to the troops currently stationed overseas as part of this year’s Houston Museum District Day activities at Holocaust Museum Houston.
Co-sponsored by the Houston-area chapter of Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc., the Museum will accept items beginning Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011 through Houston Museum District Day, held Saturday, Sept. 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Museum’s Morgan Family Center, 5401 Caroline St., in Houston’s Museum District. The September event is being held in conjunction with the Museum’s new exhibit on Jewish troops in World War II, “Ours to Fight For: American Jews in the Second World War.” Admission to the exhibit and all of the day’s activities are free.
Houstonians looking to express their creativity will find an opportunity to do so with an activity based on honoring current members of the United States armed forces who are serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Guests will be allowed to write letters, notes and postcards to the troops as part of the Museum’s partnership with Blue Star Mothers of Houston, which will distribute them overseas.
Rachel Morales, treasurer of Blue Star Mothers of Houston and mother of Cpl. Matt Morales of the United States Marine Corps, said care packages play an important role in the lives of servicemen and women.
“While a source of essentials and snacks, care packages are more importantly an enormous morale booster,” she said. “Our troops are deeply touched and motivated by the generosity and support of the American public.”
Suggested items include: writing paper, envelopes, pens, pencils, books, magazines, baby wipes, eye drops, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, hairbrushes, hand lotion, nail clippers, shampoo, sunscreen, toilet paper, instant coffee, tea mixes, sugar packets, beef jerky, canned fruit, granola bars, instant oatmeal, board games, crossword puzzles, CDs, American flags, batteries, duct tape, pre-paid phone cards and more. For a complete list of items needed, visit the Blue Star Mothers Web site at http://www.bsmhoustonarea.org. All items must be new and in original packaging.
Susan Myers, executive director of the Museum, said it was an honor to work with the mothers of troops currently serving overseas while the Museum hosts an exhibit dedicated to the veterans of World War II.
“We are thrilled to be working with Blue Star Mothers of Houston to honor our veterans by supporting our active-duty troops,” she said. “We look forward to seeing many Houstonians visit our Museum and donate items for this incredible cause.”
After donating items and finishing letters to servicemen and women, guests are invited to explore the long history of Jewish troops in the United States armed forces through the Museum’s exhibit, “Ours to Fight For: American Jews in the Second World War.” The exhibit examines and celebrates the role of Jewish servicemen and women who labored on and off the battlefield during World War II. It is traveled by New York City’s Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.
“Ours to Fight For” is based on video testimony gathered from more than 400 oral histories with Jewish servicemen and women. Their moving words, animated through historic film footage, videotaped interviews and hundreds of photographs and objects make it clear that the war had special meaning for American Jews. The exhibition also shows how Americans who did not serve in the military made valuable contributions to the war effort from their homes and workplaces in the United States. A computer station allows visitors to explore the experiences of other groups who served in the military during World War II, including African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos and Russian Jews.
Guests can also visit an exhibit on the close similarities between America’s Jim Crow laws and Nazi Germany’s oppressive actions against Jews in the years leading up to World War II. Contrary to common belief, Nazi Germany’s legal assault on the Jews between 1933 and 1945 was not unique in its racial character or in its segregationist aims.
As with many Nazi attacks against the Jews, the Nazis took ideas and practices that were common in their own and other cultures and radicalized them to suit their needs. “The Impact of Racist Ideologies: Jim Crow and the Nuremberg Laws” explores those Nuremberg Laws in the context of the so-called Jim Crow laws, using examples from Houston’s own segregationist past.
Using images and first-person accounts, this exhibition permits visitors to consider the Jim Crow and Nuremberg laws and to examine their effects on daily life. Incorporating Houston’s history with Jim Crow and the civil rights movement, the exhibition invites visitors to think about the impact of the laws of Jim Crow and Nuremberg – both at the time of their implementation and today. Ultimately, the exhibit challenges guests to consider what each individual must do to lessen the impact of racist ideologies.
Also that Saturday, three Houston-area survivors who endured the Nazi oppression will speak about their experiences. Speakers are scheduled for 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Seating is limited, and guests are encouraged to arrive early.
The Museum’s permanent exhibit, “Bearing Witness: A Community Remembers,” will have docents on hand throughout the exhibit area to answer questions. The exhibit is personalized with the testimony of Houston-area survivors who lived through the genocide of World War II. The exhibit begins by carrying visitors back to pre-war Europe and revealing the flourishing Jewish life and culture once there. Authentic film footage, artifacts, photographs and documents expose Nazi propaganda and the ever-tightening restrictions on Jews in the steady move toward the “Final Solution.”
Blue Star Mothers of America is a non-partisan, non-political organization for mothers with children who are currently serving or who have served in the United States armed forces. The organization, originally created during World War II, has chapters in more than 40 states, including two in the Greater Houston area. Blue Star Mothers of
Houston has more than 150 members and has already sent more than 700 care packages to troops stationed overseas this year.
The day’s activities are generously cosponsored by Park Plaza Hospital and Linbeck, with special thanks to United Airlines, official airline of Holocaust Museum Houston.
Holocaust Museum Houston, a member of the Blue Star Museums initiative, is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy.
Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy. Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004.
For more information about the Museum, call 713-942-8000 or visit http://www.hmh.org.