Upcoming Exhibitions

Their Brothers' Keepers: American Liberators of the Nazi Death Camp-Exhibit
Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 1:00 PM

These were the words of Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, author, and Nobel Peace Prize winner. Forty-six years following his liberation from the Buchenwald concentration camp, Wiesel expressed in stark words a moment in his life that forever marked his future existence.

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From the Bordertown Out into the World: Jews In Memel
Open June 26th – September 30th 2013

In the most northerly Prussian port town a highly varied Jewish life developed in the middle of the 19th century, inspired by immigrants from the East and the West.

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Past Exhibitions

You Got Mail – Hate Mail: Anti-Semetic Picture Postcards 1890-1930, How Easy It Was to Hate
Fall 2012

In the early 20th century, picture postcards were the most convenient form of short and quick communication.

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Lost Voices: Greek Jews and The Holocaust
Sunday, March 25, 2012

This exhibit will focus on how the Shoah affected the Jews of Greece, one of the oldest Jewish communities, going back to the middle of the first century.

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But When We Started Singing: Inspired by the Life and Works of Primo Levi
Sunday, March 18, 2012 at 1:00 PM

A performance inspired by the life and works of Primo Levi, conceived and performed by Bob Spiotto, Artistic Director, Community Arts Program at Hofstra University. Musical accompaniment and original composition by Herb Brandensten..

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Come from the Shadows
August 15 - September 29, 2011

The Korean American Voter's Council and the
Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center & Archives
cordially invite you to Comfort Women Exhibition

Artists: Steve Cavallo, Shinyoung An, Wonju Seo, Juhee Kim, Jungeun Lee, Namwon Moon, Arin Yoon, Hang Young Choi (Reception: Monday 6 PM, August 15, 2011).


MUSIC IN HELL
Exhibition Opening Spring 2011

It seems inconceivable to reconcile the possibility of listening to a full orchestra playing a classic symphony in the crowded Kovno ghetto in the 1940's. It seems equally hard to picture how Jewish partisans in the forests of Bielorussia fostered a musical troupe that entertained them in hiding while on alert not to be detected by Nazi patrols. And how bizarre to contemplate Jewish music making in the Vilna ghetto when everyone inside knew that he or she could be next in the steadily scheduled Nazi selections?

After the war's end, many survivors continued to carry on with the musical traditions that were part of their education in their native towns and cities. Four days before Israel declared its independence, a group of ex-concentration camp orchestra survivors, performed a concert under the baton of Leonard Bernstein.

Through visual and audio representations, this exhibit will examine the wide scope of the musical activities that existed before, during and after the Holocaust: choirs, orchestras, and chamber groups that operated for months and sometimes years in midst of the inferno. Whether a symbol of defiance, resistance or hope, music plays a transformative role in the lives of those who survived those generations that followed.

Rabbi Isidoro Aizenberg, Scholar – in – Residence and curator
Ayala Tamir, Assistant Director – Co-curator
Patricia Thomas, Assistant Editor

 

In collaboration with QCC Art Gallery and Facing History and Ourselves

The Art of Samuel Bak Seminar and Exhibition Opening

March 10, 2011
10:00am - 7:00pm

Please join us to participate with your class in this day-long program of events about the art of Samuel Bak, which will be exhibited at the QCC Art Gallery - opening March 10, 2011.

Bak's work has long been studied by a wide variety of audience, from young to old, and people of diverse backgrounds across the globe. We have put together a series of events for Queensborough Community College students, faculty and staff and hope you can be a part of this special day.

Program schedule:
10:30-11:45am
Lecture and Q&A with Dr. Lawrence L. Langer

1:00-2:15pm
Lecture and Q&A with Dr. Gary Phillips

2:30-4:30pm
Workshop with Facing History and Ourselves

4:30-7:30pm
Exhibition Opening Reception at QCC Art Gallery

 

Goose Stepping on Long Island: Camp Siegfried
Opening Reception: Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 7:00 PM

Only forty-nine miles from our college campus on the Long Island Expressway there is a small mid-Suffolk village: Yaphank, an Indian name meaning "Valley of Peace." In the mid-1930s an organization called the German-American Bund established fifteen summer camps throughout the United States, including one in then bucolic Yaphank. Set on a wooded lakefront, the camp served as a summer place for youngsters and as a weekend campground for adults. On Sundays a special train would leave Penn Station headed directly to Yaphank, filled with people looking forward to spending the day in the country.

None of the above would appear ominous or threatening except for the fact that the "Siegfrieders," as the campers were called, their leaders, and the many thousands that joined the Bund (not to be confused with the Jewish socialist group of the same name), were all supporters of the Nazi regime in Germany, its leaders, and its policies, including an openly expressed hatred for African-Americans and Jews. Camp Siegfried, as well as all the other Bund's facilities and gatherings, provided an opportunity for Nazi sympathizers to "meet people who think as you do." The camp's leadership "also established a youth group that recreated the Hitler Youth program for its young participants complete with uniforms, banners and songs," (Jud Newborn, The Jewish Week, December 1994). The name "Siegfried" referred to the medieval Germanic warrior, one of the heroic myths adopted by the Nazis.

Our exhibit will expose the work and the propaganda activities of the Bund at the time when a German/Nazi ambassador was representing his country in Washington, D.C., and when the threat of Nazism seemed foreign to the U.S., certainly to the hinterland of Long Island. We will underline the role that Camp Siegfried played in spreading the venom of Nazi propaganda in our own backyard, until it went out of business after the summer of 1939.

Exhibit curated by Rabbi Isidoro Aizenberg, Scholar-in-Residence.

 

"Reflections: Art Inspired by My Grandparents' Letters"
works by Dorrit Title

June 8, 7pm opening reception. Artist will be present.
Exhibit on view June 8 - August 31. Free and open to the public.

In exploring the senses of time and memory, Dorrit Title uses painting, photography and collage to communicate with the viewer.
A graduate of The Cooper Union Art School and The San Francisco Art Institute, she has exhibited at the Nassau County Museum of Art, Heckscher Museum, Firehouse Gallery, Islip Museum, Shelter Rock Art Gallery and many other locations. Her solo shows of Holocaust art include Rockland Center for Holocaust Studies, Temple Judea of Manhasset Holocaust Center and The Nassau County Holocaust & Educational Center. Her art is in the permanent collection of Queensborough Community College.

 

Genocide Among The Flowers: Seymour Kaftan's Ponary Paintings

This exhibit tells the story of Vilnius' Jews starting with the Nazi
invasion, and including the Ponary tragedy. It does so through the visual images recorded by Seymour Kaftan—born Szepsel Kaftanjski—in 26 oil paintings. A Holocaust survivor—he was 15 years old when the Nazis invaded his hometown—Kaftan documented his personal ordeal, depicting the horrors of Nazi brutality, the loss of his entire family, and his own survival. Kaftan, like so many other survivors, did not share his horrible experiences even with his immediate family. Then, in the 1960's, without any prompting, he began to pour out his memories on canvas. Basically self taught in the use of oil, acrylic, copper and sheet metals, Kaftan later studied fine art at the City University of New York. He signed his work using his Yiddish name "Szepsel." Convinced that his English was poor, Kaftan, with the help of a friend whose English he judged to be better than his own, saw to it that short texts would accompany each of the paintings, helping to illuminate his artwork.

Kaftan's unique graphic testimony is complemented by black-and-white images of the Ponary grounds as well as texts from the Ponary Diary by Kazimierz Sakowicz. Sakowicz was a Pole who lived together with his wife in a frame cottage in Ponary's woods, next to the murder grounds, becoming an eyewitness to the atrocities. His diary, originally written in Polish, "is a unique document, without parallel in the chronicles of the Holocaust. It stands as a bystander's view of the activities of the Nazi extermination machine" (Yitzhak Arad in the "Preface" to the Diary) in Ponary, leaving a key testimony against the Nazi cover up that attempted to hide the crimes committed there.

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Samuel Bak

Samuel Bak 's work is born of catastrophe. His canvases are filled with artifacts and ruins of Jewish life, images of Greek mythology and childhood objects, all presented in fragments half-buried in the ground, hovering above water, or floating across a desolate landscape. These represent pieces and parts of lives lost, memories reconstructed and time interrupted. Time, in Samuel Bak's art, moves both horizontally and vertically, there is no chronological progression here. Rather, his work transports us to a world imagined only in our mind's eye, reminding us of the inability to fully comprehend the massive loss of the Holocaust, and inviting us to summon the strength to confront current atrocities, which we have not outlived.

This three-part exhibition explores landscape, object and person through Bak's themes of loss and the Jewish dictate of tikkun olam ("repair of the world"). It is an invitation to look and look again, and to interpret for ourselves the clues and traces and the symbols and metaphors woven into each of Bak's works.

Curated by Ayala Tamir

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American Cartoonists, Nazi Germany and the Holocaust

It all began one night in November 1938 when Nazi mobs filled the streets. The silence that usually settled with the encroaching darkness was jarringly broken by the sounds of the shattering glass of smashed windows. Nearly 100 Jews were murdered, and many more injured. Hundreds of Jewish-owned stores were broken into, and more than 1,000 synagogues were burned. Such was the hatred unleashed during "The Night of Broken Glass," Kristallnacht.

"The planet needed a hero—fast. Who could have predicted that this hero would be one concocted by two Jewish boys from Ohio?" Jerry and Joe Shuster went on to create Superman! Already in Superman #10 published in 1941, they introduced us to the Dukalia American Sports Festival, an unmistakable reference to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Dukalian athletes were portrayed marching, arms stretched in a "Heil Hitler" salute, while Dukalian consul Karl Wolf proclaimed: "Dukalians are superior to any other race or nation!" (Simcha Weinstein, Up, Up, and Oy Vey!, p.21).

About the same time that Superman #10 appeared, Dyna Pubs of East Moline, IL, published Dardevil Battles Hitler, where Nazi legions are defeated by the famous silver streak comic character, Captain America. The front cover showed its titular hero punching Hitler in the face, sending the ridiculous-looking Fuhrer flying.

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From Star of Shame to Star of Courage, the History of the Yellow Star

Opening Reception: Tuesday, September 23 2008

The yellow Star of David was a cloth patch that Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis on their outer garments that would mark them in public. This discriminatory law was enforced throughout the European countries occupied by the Nazis during World War II. The badge was intended as one more measure to disenfranchise Jews and to reinforce their pariah status. In the course of time, the yellow symbol was also painted on Jewish-owned stores and businesses.

Less known is the fact that the yellow patch was not invented by the Nazis but resuscitated by them from medieval times. A degrading yellow badge was introduced by a 9th century Baghdad caliph and subsequently imposed by other Moslem rulers on their Jewish and Christian populations. The Catholic 1215 Fourth Council of the Lateran also ruled that Jews ought to wear a yellow badge and other discriminatory outer symbols. European rulers intermittently followed this direction until the time of the French Revolution.

Our exhibit will trace the imposed use of the yellow badge from medieval times through the 1933-1945 years. We will conclude with the fact that the transformation of the yellow Star of David prompted by crude anti-Semitism has emerged as the blue Star of David on the flag of the State of Israel.

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DEFYING THE DEVIL: CHRISTIAN CLERGY THAT SAVED JEWS DURING THE HOLOCAUST

Opening Reception: Monday, Feb. 25

Indifference was the commonest reaction of the masses of European non-Jewish citizens witnessing the Nazi crimes committed against the Jewish populations in their midst. But did doctors support Hitler? What about university professors? Did the clergy support Hitler?

The reality is that the majority of the European Christian clergy supported, remained indifferent or feared that open criticism of the genocide would bring down the wrath of the Nazis on them. At the same time, there were clergy men and women who felt compelled by the religious call to assist others in need. Some actually took Jewish refugees by their hands and found shelter for them, feeding them and offering them hope; others issued false baptismal certificates, or pressed other fellow clergy people and government officials to save Jews from certain death. Some of these clergy even paid with their own lives for their courageous deeds.

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Ships to Nowhere

In 1939, you board a ship trying to flee the terror on Kristallnacht or the Anschluss of the Hitler's regime. You breathe a sigh of relief as the ship departs from a world of terror being spawned by the Nazis and sails toward freedom. Yet with a British imposed quota on admission to Palestine and a similar quota keeping America's gates barely open where is this destination called FREEDOM?

Finding a haven was only part of the tragic story for so many Jews. How did you get to these possible havens? Ship transportation was the only mode. Many ships made it safely to their destinations; many did not. Some returned to Europe carrying the same passengers who only weeks earlier had escaped; others were torpedoed on the high seas or suffered damage. Tragically, other ships were denied entry at their ports of destination even though the Jewish passengers had valid visas authorizing them to disembark. Among these ships, the St. Louis is the most famous. The Struma, the Asimi, the Atrato, the Salvador, the Cariba and the Keonigstein were also part of this doomed fleet.

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