GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) — Stockton University is remembering the Holocaust. The South Jersey school has dedicated a new center to honor those who put their own lives at risk to help Holocaust victims.
On Monday, Stockton University unveiled a new exhibit at its world-renowned Holocaust Resource Center. The new exhibit is entitled the Extraordinary Heroism of Ordinary People.
This interactive exhibit was created by 17 students and their advisers at the Sara and Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center.
It tells the story of how a network of people worked together to save the Ullmann family, along with other Jewish people in the Netherlands from Nazi genocide.
The exhibit was created thanks to a donation from Leo Ullman, who was just 3 years old when a Dutch family hid him during Nazi occupation.
“It was very difficult because I thought the Schimmels were my real parents and suddenly at the end of the war, this emaciated, terrible looking couple came to the door and said that they were my parents,” Ullman said.
His story is just one of the more than 28,000 Jews who went into hiding during the Dutch occupation by the Nazis.
“They took this extraordinary risk because it was the right thing to do and I think the message that we want to create here is that we can all be heroes if you just do the right thing,” Ullman said. “These days, it’s a very powerful message because there are a lot of bystanders when there should be doers.”
Among those who were critical in Ullman’s survival were Amsterdam police officer Pieter Hoogenboom and his son. They risked execution by helping Jewish families forge identification papers.
Ullman was on hand to dedicate the exhibit along with Marion Hoogenboom and members of her family who came from Holland. She says her father and grandfather were men of strong character who would not bear injustice.
“Do you think your father was a hero?” CBS3’s Cleve Bryan asked.
“No, it was just my father and he did what he had to do and I don’t think it’s a hero,” Hoogenboom said.
The Ullman and Hoogenboom families will be at Stockton’s campus for a special event Monday night.
The exhibit is now open to the public, along with the rest of the Holocaust Resource Center, free of charge Monday through Friday.