The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine sprang from a 1984 seminar at Bowdoin College, the inspiration and legacy of Gerda Haas, Holocaust survivor and author of Tracking the Holocaust and These I Do Remember: Fragments from the Holocaust.
In April 1985, following the Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Day of Remembrance) service at the Blaine House in Augusta, the Holocaust and Human Rights Center announced its official birth, with Gerda Haas as Founding Director. The HHRC presented programs for schools and its annual summer seminar for teachers. In the mid-1990s, the HHRC published and distributed The Spirit that Moved Us, a three volume resource guide for teaching about diversity, prejudice, human rights, and the Holocaust. In addition to educational work, staff and volunteers at the HHRC conducted a series of interviews with Holocaust survivors in Maine which were recorded and transcribed and are still available for review.
In October 2005, the HHRC broke ground on its permanent home, the Michael Klahr Center, a Maine architectural highlight on the UMA campus at Augusta. HHRC opened its doors to the public in May 2008. The HHRC continues the legacy created by Gerda Haas through continuing educational programming and teacher training. In addition, the Klahr Center hosts rotating exhibits and many events, bringing a wide array of students, educators, community members and visitors to the UMA campus each year.