It is easy to dehumanize someone if they are categorized as “other.” If we want to help end genocide, we must eliminate this idea of “other.” People are people, regardless of where they come from, the color of their skin, or the religion they practice. – Elizabeth Helitzer, Executive Director, HHRC
Through initiatives in education, exhibition and activism, we engage and inform people of Maine about the Nazi Holocaust, other genocides and broader issues of human rights abuses in their historic and contemporary context. We encourage individuals and communities to reflect and act upon their ethical and moral responsibilities in our modern world.
Founded in 1985, the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine welcomes all visitors to its new public exhibition space and resource facility, the Michael Klahr Center on the University of Maine Augusta campus.
Committed to entering the global conversation on human rights, HHRC encompasses a broad range of programs, partners, and constituents – integrated to effectively engage our mission on three fronts:
Teaching children to teach – and think for – themselves.
Engaging spectators through images that stick and stories that speak.
Stimulating social conscience to inspire right action.
Aligning strategic goals with core values, HHRC actively seeks to:
- Embrace the cause of human rights for people and communities of all origins, and advocate tolerance and empathy as a way of life.
- Sustain free public access to HHRC as a non-profit resource center housing permanent installations, revolving galleries, interactive exhibits, multi-media classrooms, and library archives for ongoing research.
- Create and provide exemplary educational outreach programs of national pilot potential, and enliven the teaching of history through interactive software and progressive student-centered pedagogy.
- Advance the cause of humane education by teaching all children that they are worthy of care and respect, and are themselves caring and respectful.
- Nurture the moral reasoning skills, generosity of spirit, and habits of mind that will inspire students to confront prejudice, challenge indifference, and accept responsibility to examine their own lives through encounters with history.
- Provide teacher training and original curricula to reinforce the relevance of human rights in history to character education in the classroom; and promote the transfer of insights, life-skills, and emotional gains to home, play, and other settings.
- Support the state-wide adoption of revitalized Social Studies standards in primary and secondary education, and position Holocaust Studies as a viable college degree program.
- Develop assessment tools to observe, quantify, and report the outcomes of HHRC programs; and maintain a rigorous commitment to program evaluation, both from within and outside the organization.
- Cultivate partnerships with schools, providers, and funders; and seek inter-agency collaborations with like-minded institutions.
- Establish HHRC as a research center to support international scholarship by archiving oral histories of Maine-based survivors, liberators, and hidden children in the Holocaust.