CVCC is home to one of the largest collections of holocaust resources in NC

Kate Wimberly
Staff Writer

On a night that might have begun like any other, but ended with the sound of broken glass, “Kristallnacht” (“the night of the broken glass”) marked the beginning of what looked like the end as Jewish-owned shops and synagogues were vandalized by Nazi troops. A time that we can look back on as one of the biggest tragedies of our world history, it is also a reminder that where there is wrongdoing, good will always rise up to face it head on. The Jewish people serve as a beacon of endurance, strength, and resiliency--a memento of what it truly means to be human.

Viktor Frankl once stated, “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

The inception of the Gilde-Marx Holocaust and Genocide Studies Collection began with simple beginnings. William Chicurel, along with his family, had acquired many pieces over the years that derived from family heirlooms. Over the years, they acquired various books and other miscellaneous items from online retailers and bookstores, all of which disclosing the history of the holocaust. The family was passionate about others having access to such important pieces of our history. In 2013, the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust invited CVCC to house the collection.

Ari Sigal, Curator to the Gilde-Marx Holocaust and Genocide Studies Collection shared the importance the of the community having access to these pieces.
“The purpose is to educate. Hatred towards race conditions the heart. This year is the 75th anniversary of the end of the first world war this spring. In the sixties and seventies, the end of the war was so fresh. The feeling was to just move on and put the past behind them, but from the eighties on, survivors began to really come forward and tell their stories.”

He went on to discuss how CVCC’s library is a college-public library hybrid, where residents of Catawba County can obtain a library card to check out resources for educators and community members alike. Ari Sigal mentioned his gratitude to the school administrative system for integrating these moments of history into their curriculum, and to Staci Wilson, CVCC Library Director, for her support and making significant space for the collection to be housed.

“At the end of the day, it’s an important topic. It was one of the greatest tragedies in our world history, and it’s important we remember that,” shared Staci Wilson.

With almost seven years since its initial welcoming, the CVCC library continues to add pieces to the collection from donors. To date, the collection holds over 800 books and 200 DVDs and music CDs regarding Jewish culture and pivotal moments in history, such as the holocaust of World War One, the killing fields in Cambodia of the post-Vietnam War, and the genocides of Rwanda and Sudan in the 1990’s and 2000’s. The collection also includes holocaust research, effects spread to European countries, young adult fiction, historical fiction, documentaries, and Hollywood productions. The collection even includes a set of graphic novels entitled, Maus, by Art Spiegalman, whose parents were holocaust survivors.

Their hope and goal is to incorporate current events into the collection. In mid-April, CVCC hosts a Holocaust Memorial Day event, where the community is invited to hear a presentation in remembrance of the Holocaust, date to be announced.

For more information about the CVCC Library or the Gilde-Marx Holocaust and Genocide Studies Collection, contact the library at (828) 327-7000, ext. 4229.