Jewish Interactive Museum of Chile Gains 100 Holocaust Testimonies from Visual History Archive

Mon, 09/19/2016 - 5:00pm

Left: Museo Interactivo Judío de Chile Executive Director Alejandra Morales Stekel,  Right: President Dalia PollakExpanding its reach in South America, USC Shoah Foundation has reached an agreement with a museum in Chile to house nearly 100 testimonies from Holocaust survivors.

The testimonies were licensed by the Museo Interactivo Judío de Chile (The Jewish Interactive Museum of Chile) to provide residents there the chance to interact with testimony from survivors who wound up in the South American country after the war.

Museum Executive Director Alejandra Morales Stekel picked up the testimonies in September when she visited the Institute as part of a UNESCO convening of officials from across Latin America.

The Chile collection marks the second such installation in a Latin American country; The Unión Israelita de Caracas in Venezuela houses 44 testimonies from the Institute’s Visual History Archive.

“It’s very enriching to have testimonies in Spanish for our neighbors,” Stekel said. “It’s more appealing for the audience. The Holocaust can be something that happened far away to other people.”

The museum, now about two years old, focuses on two aspects of Jewish life: its history and the Holocaust. The collection of testimonies comes at a vital time, Stekel said.

“About 15,000 to 18,000 Jews live in Chile,” she said. “We are thriving here. We have a nice, good life, but antisemitism is rising a little now, according to the (Anti-Defamation League). Chile is the third-most antisemitic country in the Americas.”

The museum hopes that the new testimonies will go a long way in changing that attitude. So far, it seems to be working.

“We’re always full,” Stekel said. “Our basic audience is high school students. There are guides working all day. Everything is booked until November.”