Remembering children and the Shoah

"Remember the Children, Daniel's Story," an interactive exhibition opening Sunday in San Francisco, is the story of what happened to thousands upon thousands of young people during the Holocaust.

It is the story of happy lives turned instantly horrifying. It is the story of lost childhoods, lost dreams, lost families. It is the story of hate and how it kills, of hope and how it saves.

But while numerous exhibits tackle Holocaust themes, the award-winning "Daniel's Story" — a permanent installation at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. — conveys its vital messages in a particularly memorable way.

It invites viewers into Daniel's world, asking them to touch what he touched, see what he saw and hear what he heard.

As evidenced by comments made by children who have seen the exhibit in the past, audiences make a special, personal connection to the child at the heart of the installation. Children relate to Daniel and empathize with what he has experienced. Some vow to prevent the sort of hatred that led to his suffering.

We are thrilled the installation is starting its four-year national tour in San Francisco. And we are grateful to the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund for bringing it here. By doing so, the Goldman family is ensuring an unforgettable educational experience for thousands of Bay Area students, as well as adults and educators.

So we urge local residents, in addition to viewing the display, to partake of the many public education programs surrounding its run through July 26. Those include lectures, films and performances on topics related to the Holocaust, racism and tolerance.

The messages conveyed by the exhibit and accompanying programs are important for people of all ages and backgrounds. They might help ensure that "Daniel's Story" does not repeat itself.