October 2018 -- Tishrei-Cheshvan 5779,  Volume 24, Issue 10

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In Confidence: Holocaust History Told By Those Who Lived It

In Confidence: Holocaust History Told By Those Who Lived It,  is a new, multimedia installation that encourages visitors to engage with personal expressions of Holocaust experience. Correspondence, possessions, photographs, artworks, journals, testimonies—history has confided these to us.  Through each we can listen, reflect, and respond. The installation will be on view at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust from September 16, 2018 to January 31, 2019.


 Visitors will discover artifacts from the collections of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, a special presentation of The Girl in the Diary (in partnership with the Galicia Jewish Museum), an introduction to the stunning work of acclaimed artist Mikhail Turovsky, and an encore presentation of the HBO film The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm.


 In Confidence also features the museum premiere of The Last Goodbye—an immersive virtual reality testimony (produced by USC Shoah Foundation). In his final return to Majdanek, Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter tours the concentration camp where his parents and twin sister were murdered during World War II. As Pinchas recounts his experiences, you walk alongside him—seeing what he sees, hearing what he hears, and learning as he guides visitors through an account of his own history. The Last Goodbye represents unprecedented advances in storytelling through technology. (Reservations are recommended for this 20-minute experience.)


This presentation of The Last Goodbye is its museum premiere, simultaneously debuted by the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, and The Florida Holocaust Museum. Through this strong partnership, visitors to Holocaust education institutions across the U.S. are discovering how “the technology of the future” can help us explore, study, and preserve evidence of the past.


“Evidence of personal experience is often what ‘gets through’ to Museum visitors—communicating historical content while allowing people to make human connections,” said Museum President & CEO Michael S. Glickman. “From hidden journals written in the ghettos to artistic reflections to virtual reality, In Confidence gives people a range of opportunities to engage. Testimony is prominently featured. When a Holocaust survivor tells her story, she re-asserts the humanity and dignity that the Nazis attempted to destroy. It is an act of resistance.”


As visitors walk through In Confidence, they will tour items across a range of formats. Some of the artifacts on display were produced during the horrors of World War II; others were created in its aftermath. Some of the individuals who created these objects did not anticipate an audience. They kept private records and sketches of their experiences, using pen and paper to insist on their perspectives. Others sought to deliberately preserve—and to teach—their stories for the benefit of future generations. Their artworks open a window onto annihilated worlds; their eyewitness accounts stand as evidence. In Confidence asks that we take responsibility for carrying these stories forward.


 In Confidence: Holocaust History Told By Those Who Lived It is featured in the Museum’s Irving Schneider and Family Gallery. The installation is made possible in part by the Murray and Frida Krell Testimony Fund. The Krell Testimony Fund enables the Museum to preserve and present survivor testimony—documenting personal experience of global significance.


 Presented in partnership with the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, The Girl in the Diary section features excerpts of Rywka Lipszyc’s diary—written in the Lodz Ghetto (1943-44) and discovered after the war near the ruins of Crematorium 3 at Auschwitz. The diary’s powerful words are accompanied by artifacts from the Ghetto, including objects manufactured in the workshops, food coupons, and other items that speak to the struggle to endure.


 In 1980, Mikhail Turovsky (b. 1933 in Kiev) began a cycle of artworks on the theme of the Holocaust—ultimately producing 65 paintings and many drawings. In the years since, Turovsky’s Holocaust paintings have been exhibited at Yad Vashem, the headquarters of the United Nations Organization, and at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City. The artist’s drawings exhibited in In Confidence speak to his commitment to examining the history of personal impact of the Holocaust.

With few exceptions, the Museum items featured in this installation were donated by survivors or their families—sometimes so that the remaining traces of their loved ones’ lives would be remembered.


 The Museum is located at 36 Battery Place in Lower Manhattan. The Museum is closed on Saturdays, Jewish holidays, and Thanksgiving. Visit  mjhnyc.org for more information. Reservations recommended for the 20-minute virtual reality experience The Last Goodbye, featured within In Confidence.