On Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, the Maine Jewish Museum in Portland held a reception for the opening of its newest exhibit: “Lawyers Without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany Under the Third Reich.”

The exhibit outlines the fates of individual Jewish lawyers, who were among the first to face persecution. Each personal story is evidence that the Holocaust didn’t start with mass murder; it started with the stripping of human rights.

“This exhibit shows that resistance must come not only from the minorities themselves but from the majority,” said Adrian Kendall, a Portland attorney and Germany’s honorary consul for Maine and New Hampshire. “It’s an exhibit that goes much beyond remembrance.… It’s a human message for all of humanity.”

In fact, “Lawyers Without Rights” has traveled all over the world, including to more than 70 cities in Germany and more than a dozen cities in the United States.

“Each of these panels is the story of conscious, deliberate withdrawal of rights and dignity,” said Arthur Fink, a Portland-based photographer whose work is displayed at the museum. “It begs us to ask the question: When do we need to speak out, and when do we need to help others to speak out. What I want to leave here with is not just what happened to each of these lawyers but to turn it inwardly to find progressive, reasonable, effective action.”

“One of the best things about this exhibit is that it starts a conversation,” said Jody Sataloff, president of the board at the Maine Jewish Museum.

In fact, the museum plans to host a reception for the Greater Portland legal community sometime in the new year.

The exhibit is free and open to the public through Feb. 13 on the third floor of the museum.

For more information, visit mainejewishmuseum.org.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer based in Scarborough. She can be contacted at:

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