Life comes to El Paso Holocaust Museum
Sgt. Michael Armstrong,
24th Press Camp Headquarters:
A multimedia exhibit featuring art and film used to tell one family’s love and loss during the Holocaust is the newest feature at the El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center.
The exhibit, which opened Wednesday and is called “The Memory Project,” tells the story of Holocaust survivor Anna Jacobs and memory of the last time she saw Kalman, her little brother, in Poland before being separated and sent to different concentration camps.
Anna’s daughter, acclaimed New York artist Roz Jacobs, has captured the essence of her uncle Kalman through a series of paintings. Listening to her mother’s stories, Jacobs found a way to bring Kalman back to life by creating nine paintings of the uncle she never knew, and the details of whose death still remain a mystery.
“That was my childhood fantasy,” said Jacobs. “I wanted to find Kalman and reunite him with my mother and help her though her pain. … I’ve put the memory of the stories of Kalman on canvas. I wanted to somehow bring a piece of her lost past back to my mother.”
She filmed herself during the process with the help of Laurie Weisman, who has worked on TV and multimedia projects for Disney and the Children’s Television Workshop. Weisman edited the film into a 10-minute loop, which shows simultaneously on nine television monitors in the exhibit.
There are 18 paintings and screens in the exhibit and that was not just happenstance. The number 18 represents “chai,” the Hebrew word for life.
“I wanted to take a different approach than what many people associate with the Holocaust,” said Jacobs. “Instead of showing death, I want to express how people lived.”
Jacobs also hopes to be able to reach out to the Soldiers in the area through her art.
“I might not know what it was like for them in war,” said Jacobs, “but pain is universal and there are ways to talk about it and heal.”
Through the four-month run of the exhibit, the El Paso Holocaust Museum will present a series of public events, including the screening of the documentary “Finding Kalman,” which further expands on the story of Anna and Kalman.
The El Paso Holocaust Museum is one of only 13 free-standing Holocaust museums in the U.S., and is located in downtown El Paso at 715 N. Oregon St. All events are free. For more information about the “The Memory Project” or the museum call the El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center at 351-0048.
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