Jewish Community Council Honors Shenango Valley Resident

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – To kick off the new school year, the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation recognized Shenango Valley resident Roger Smith Monday for his donations of the multimedia Holocaust art exhibition, “Lest We Forget,” as well as other educational items.

Smith, who is not Jewish, has been a community activist, philanthropist, and educator his entire life.

In 2004, he served on the executive board of the Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts in New Castle, Pa. He was chairman on a committee that brought an exclusive Schindler’s List exhibit to the region from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, as well as other Holocaust-inspired art, both national and local. Smith knew these works were important for continued education, so he purchased many of the materials at the conclusion of the exhibit.

Smith collected additional materials, and through his work with the Community Foundation of Western PA and Eastern OH, and with funding from other sources such as the Hoyt Foundation, Almira Foundation, Caroline Knowx Memorial Trust Fund, the Lawrence Community Foundation, and the First National Bank of Pennsylvania, he organized the “Lest We Forget” exhibit that was displayed in all eight school districts in Lawrence County during the 2012-2013 academic year. This initiative reached more than 1,200 students.

Smith then worked with the Pittsburgh Holocaust Center for a Day of Remembrance in 2013. Through a personal relationship with the nephew of Andy Warhol, he was able to have these materials displayed at the Andy Warhol museum. In addition, Roger also funded the production of a video, “Children of the Holocaust,” which premiered at the museum, along with a short play produced at Westminster College. Roger retained control of the “Lest We Forget” exhibit and the other materials.

The donated items will become part of the Jewish Federation’s collection of Holocaust memorabilia and material that are used for community programming and school presentations, according to Jesse McClain, Jewish Federation Holocaust educational specialist.

“We are so excited that, at the start of this new school year, we have new, compelling educational resources to share with the community,” McClain said. “It is a tremendous addition to our growing collection.”

The Jewish Federation has several traveling exhibits and documentary films about local Holocaust Survivors that are available for use, free of charge, at any area school or community organization.

Pictured: Jesse McClain, Jewish Federation Holocaust educational specialist and Roger Smith stand in front of a piece of artwork that Smith donated.

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