"Experience Holocaust by eyes": survivors' artwork to be on display in Jerusalem

13:50, April 09, 2010      

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by Dave Bender, Hao Fangjia

A new exhibition showcasing artwork by Holocaust survivors will open on Monday, Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.

The exhibition, themed "Virtues of Memory: Six Decades of Holocaust Survivors' Creativity," "tries to explore for the first time how survivors actually remember a place we too often said was indescribable," said Yehudit Shendar, a senior art curator at Yad Vashem's Museums Division.

The event, which is expected to last for a year, is "an opportunity for all of us to try and understand what the survivors have experienced. This time, not with our ears, or with our word capacity, but rather with our eyes," Shendar told reporters at a preview on Thursday.

"In my opinion, the Holocaust is one of the major characteristics of Jewishness today," said Raul-Israel Teitelbaum, an 80-year-old Holocaust survivor. "Other elements are sometimes disputed, but the Holocaust is one thing that actually crystallized the identity of Jews today. It's a part of the history, and a very hard history of the Jewish people," added the former Israeli journalist and painter in the exhibition hall.

Right behind him is one of his paintings, a dark oil-on-canvas named "Boy at Bergen-Belsen." In the 67.2 cm by 42 cm portrait, which he said depicted one of his horrific experiences, a gaunt young man, clad in torn blue rags, sits on a stone in a muddy courtyard in the camp, his face turned away from the viewer.



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