To Life: The Liberation of Ravensbrück

To Life: The Liberation of Ravensbrück


VANDEBURGT: My name is Melissa Minds VandeBurgt,
and I’m the head of Archives, Special Collections and Digital Initiatives here at
the Bradshaw Library at FGCU. The intention for the exhibition really came
initially from my desire to want to do something to honor the 75th anniversary
of the liberation. But I really wanted to focus on the courage
and the heroes and the survivors. And then I heard about the Swedish Red Cross
white bus rescue action. So I was interested in this story of these
men and women who risked their lives to save 15,500 men and women,
and children of course. SANCHEZ: The purpose of this exhibit is to not only
commemorate the liberation of concentration camps, but to preserve the
true history of the Holocaust. WINSLOW: I’m a public history major here at FGCU.
I focus specifically in memory. This exhibit goes really well with that because
this mission hasn’t been remembered in the US. VANDEBURGT: We did a research trip
where we followed the women’s footsteps. WINSLOW: We actually got to
go to Ravensbrück, which was the concentration camp
that we’re focusing on here. We got to walk in the footsteps of the people
that we’ve been studying for months. VANDEBURGT: And while in southern Sweden,
we selected 23 pieces, individual items created by the
women and children themselves. CURTIS: In our exhibit, we’re showing items from
women and children who were rescued. People will also see the story of an American girl
who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was at Auschwitz and survived, and then was taken to another concentration camp, which is Ravensbrück. And she was rescued
by the white buses. We’re trying to walk guests
through the steps of the survivors from where they were imprisoned
in the concentration camp to where they found freedom
in Malmö harbor in Sweden. VANDEBURGT: And the images that we have here
in the show are the day that they make it to Sweden. So it’s the first day that they’re
actually finding freedom. WINSLOW: I think that this exhibit is important because
a lot of the people that were involved with the rescue were volunteers. There were
a lot of people, college-age actually. One of the women, Wanda, was 22
when she became involved with this. She was actually a spy, and she went into camps.
If you knew somebody in a camp, you could visit them. And she extracted names from people in the camps, and they used those names to rescue people in the camps. It shows that anybody can make a difference. SANCHEZ: We want people who experience this exhibit
to challenge themselves by asking, “What am I doing now to prevent
this from happening again, or to help people going through something
similar to what these women went through, today?”

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