Museum founded by Holocaust survivor reopens in Indiana

TERRE HAUTE — A western Indiana museum founded by a Holocaust survivor who championed forgiveness has reopened following a six-month-long closure prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center reopened in Terre Haute on Friday, when 26 visitors showed up to see a new exhibit and hear the stories of Holocaust survivors.

“We are excited to have people back, and we are trying to be very cautionary with our cleaning routines and safety,” museum director Leah Simpson told the Tribune-Star.

She said public interest in the museum and education center has remained strong during the months-long closure amid the pandemic.

The CANDLES museum, or Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors, was founded by Eva Kor, who died in July 2019 at age 85 during an overseas trip to Poland for the museum.

She and her twin sister, Miriam Zeiger, who died of cancer in 1993, endured medical experiments at the Auschwitz concentration camp, where their parents and older sister — members of a Jewish family from Romania — died. Despite that tragedy, Kor later championed forgiveness for those who carried out the Holocaust atrocities.

A new digital exhibit at the museum, called “In Their Own Words: The Mengele Twins Tell Their Stories,” is interactive and includes videos of survivors of experiments conducted by Josef Mengele, the infamous Nazi doctor who conducted cruel experiments at concentration camps.

Indiana’s Brown County State Park added to National Register

NASHVILLE — Southern Indiana’s popular Brown County State Park has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, making it the state’s largest historic district.

The park’s recent addition to the National Register is “a great honor” said Patrick Haulter, the interpretive naturalist for the 16,000-acre park, which features rugged hills, ridges and fog-shrouded ravines.

“It really speaks to how important this park is, not only to the people who live here, but to everyone,” he said in a news release from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Brown County State Park opened in 1929 near Nashville, a rustic town that’s the county seat. It’s Indiana’s largest state park and one of its most popular, particularly in the autumn when hordes of visitors converge on the forested park to witness its vivid fall foliage.

Indiana Landmarks staff authored the park’s National Register nomination in partnership with the DNR and supported by the local preservation group Peaceful Valley Heritage.

That nomination documented nearly 70 buildings, sites, and structures that contribute to the park’s historical significance, including structures built in the 1930s by the Great Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps.

The park includes the Abe Martin Lodge and overnight cabins, along with shelters, vistas, trails, and Ogle Lake, as well as a lookout tower.

“The natural and built environment blend seamlessly at Brown County State Park, making it a place that is cherished by all Hoosiers,” said Mark Dollase, Indiana Landmarks’ vice president of preservation services.

Indiana Senate backs yearly hurdle on teacher union dues

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana teachers would have to renew requests every year for automatic paycheck deduction of union dues under a bill that’s been approved by the state Senate.

The bill seeks to have school districts send an email to all employees who have union dues deductions with a boldface message in 14-point type that they have the right to not join the union and may stop their paycheck deduction at any time.

Senators voted 27-22 this past week in favor of the bill, which now goes to the House for consideration. Twelve Republican senators joined Democrats in voting against the bill.

Supporters of the bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Phil Boots of Crawfordsville say it would allow teachers to make “informed decisions” about their union membership.

The Indiana State Teachers Association, which is the state’s largest teachers union, questioned why union dues were the only one of the many possible paycheck deductions targeted by the legislation. The group argued the bill isn’t necessary and will misuse school district staff time.

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