Dallas Museum Offers Lessons for Ukraine and Messages of Hope

Many observers believe what's happening today in Ukraine is also genocide

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The horrific events of the war in Ukraine are all too familiar at the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.

"Unfortunately, in our museum, we cover history that repeats itself over and over again," said Mary Pat Higgins, the museum's president and CEO.

Among the museum's powerful exhibits is one that marks the Holodomor genocide that happened in Ukraine nearly a century ago. It shows how Soviet leader Joseph Stalin starved millions of Ukrainians to death in the 1930s.

"It was a genocide against the national Ukrainian people to crush their desire to have a separate national identity," Higgins explained.

Many observers believe what's happening today in Ukraine is also genocide. The term was coined during the Holocaust, in which the Nazis murdered millions of Jews.

Higgins described the concept of genocide this way: "The intent to destroy a group based on a characteristic. Their national identity, ethnic, racial, religious identity."

The museum illustrates the way to justice with exhibits that explain the framework for holding those who commit genocide accountable for their crimes. The International Criminal Court could someday consider the atrocities happening today in Ukraine.

"The goal is to go after the leaders and to make an example of them and try to deter other leaders from committing such atrocities because, ultimately, they know there will be justice," Higgins said.

Evidence will be critical, and Higgins says the deluge of gruesome images from Ukraine could make it easier for prosecutors to prove their case.

"It's hard that we are all seeing this news unfold 24/7. But it's also really positive that we know what's happening," she said.

Along with some of the darkest chapters in history, the museum celebrates the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. Higgins reminds us that in the midst of tragedy, there is hope in Ukraine.

"We are also seeing incredible bravery, and people that are fighting for their right to be an independent nation and for their heritage. It gives me hope to see how they're standing up against these atrocities," she said.

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