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KCTV News 5: German-Italian artist honors Holocaust survivors in Kansas City

July 26, 2019

KCTV News 5: German-Italian artist honors Holocaust survivors in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) — A German-Italian artist is in Kansas City photographing Holocaust survivors.

Luigi Toscano started on a mission to fight anti-Semitism and racism about four years ago.

So far, he’s photographed about 400 people, documenting their stories and showing them in public displays all around the world. He says he continues to be inspired by them.

Toscano said one woman’s story in particular sticks out to him. He photographed her in Ukraine. Her parents were killed on the spot in Auschwitz, and she endured years of human experimentation and torture at the hands of Dr. Josef Mengele, the Nazi known as the Angel of Death. Toscano says she survived and went on to become a successful doctor.

“It impressed me that people who survived this horror, that they do something with their lives you know,” Toscano said.

Toscano is now is Kansas City to photograph eight more holocaust victims. Erwin Stern, 90, is one of them. He’s from Austria. When he was eight years old, his parents put him and one of his sisters on a train to escape the country.

They went to France and ended up living in a castle with 200 other children for about two years during the war. Eventually, some Americans sponsored him to come to the United States.

Stern spent most of his life thinking his entire family, save the sister came here with, were dead.

But when he was 25, he found out his father survived.

He was held captive in Siberia for more than a decade after escaping getting shot by Nazis in Poland.

Stern shared his story for Toscano’s project, because he believes it’s important the holocaust is remembered. He says if we forget, it could happen again.

“In another 10 or 20 years, there won’t be any survivors from the Holocaust. So, it’ll be like a forgotten story. And it’s a reminder that it can happen again anywhere,” Stern said.

Lest We Forget” will open in September. The location is to be determined, but they’re hoping somewhere outside the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

The project is funded by the Goethe Institute, which promotes the study of German culture.

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