Life in the End of the Rainbow Valley

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

TRANSFER OF MEMORY

Last Thursday was a very, very full day. We all have them and yet it never just rains, does it? Sometimes it pours with our 'social' calendars. 

I had the opportunity since I was already "in town" at the International Women's program to also attend the opening reception at Viterbo University for the "Transfer of Memory,"the University of Minnesota Holocaust Survivor Memory Project, a photo exhibit with color portraits of 41 Minnesotans.

Unfortunately, I didn't realize there would be a formal presentation at the beginning of the reception and I ran a bit late missing the welcome of the director of the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership, Richard Kyte, and what I heard was a wonderfully delivered musical presentation entitled 'Life in Hiding' from the Diary of Anne Frank.
Steve Hunegs

I walked in during the  remarks of Steve Hunegs, director of The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas which also  cosponsors the photo exhibit that commemorates these special lives.



David Sherman ( no relation)

The photographer responsible for this "retelling"endeavor, David Sherman, a  Sioux City transplant, wanted to capture these survivors's "full and fulfilling lives- full of life and vitality- and not defined by victimhood." 

Due to the age of the subjects  and their convenience, it was  more conducive to meet in their homes after 11am for the 20 minute/ longer interviews) to record their life stories which were then condensed to a couple of paragraphs by Lili Chester and then photographed by Sherman for the exhibit. A face to accompany a story and name creates a reality to a generation who are now in their eighties or older. If not now, when for a Transfer of Memory?

Underneath each portrait is a text which can be removed from  small hanging hooks to facilitate a "hands on " approach to learning about each survivor and their life lessons/ observations. 

And who better to give advice than those that lived through the horrific years of the Holocaust?

Below are some quotes from some of the survivors in the exhibit.

“I kept my life story silent for so long. Now I want [people] to understand what can happen when good people do nothing, when they look away when neighbors are abused, when they place economic well-being ahead of basic human values.” Murray Brandys

“I've learned that life is most precious. Do a mitzvah each day to thank God for the gift of life.” Charles Fordor


“It doesn’t make any difference what you look like, on the inside we are all the same." Margot Dewilde

"Every little story is a book in itself. It is so unbelievable it is hard to describe.” Manya Sherman


“The potential of (evil) is there in all of us if we do not remember the past.” Lucy Smith


“My family was one out of 10,000 that survived intact. People couldn’t believe it.”Ben Kibort



"I don’t want people to forget what people can do to other people; they shouldn’t forget.” Edith Goodman

The exhibit will be in the Foyer of Viterbo's Fine Arts building until the end of March. Some 12,OOO visitors are expected to experience these precious lives. If you can't attend in person, you can visit Transfer of Memory by clicking on the photos on the following link to see and read each of these 41 survivors's stories: Transfer of Memory

photo courtesy of Transfer of Memory website : transferofmemory.org



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