A Jewish astronaut met the
Holocaust survivor whose teddy bear replica he took into space. Mark Polansky,
who commanded the space shuttle Discovery on its mission late last year to the
International Space Station, met Tuesday with Sophie Turner-Zaretsky at the
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
Polansky called the Holocaust
museum before his flight, asking for mementos to take into space. His father
had died since Polansky’s last mission, in 2001, and he wanted to honor him. He took a
replica of “Refugee,” a stuffed bear Turner-Zaretsky’s mother had given to her
after World War II and which Turner-Zaretsky gave to the museum in 2002.
also took with him a photo of a child in a Darfur refugee camp taken by a
museum staff member. The museum has led consciousness-raising about the genocide
in the Darfur region of Sudan.