Exhibition: survivors tell of Holocaust horrors

2010-05-26 00:00

A MULTIMEDIA exhibition telling the life stories of survivors of the Holocaust in Lithuania opened at the Durban Jewish Centre yesterday.

The exhibition, “Surviving History: Portraits of Vilna”, tells the stories of 10 people who survived the Holocaust in the Baltic state, where 95% of the 240 000-strong Jewish population was wiped out. Some of the survivors lost all their family members, but chose to remain in the country.

Justice Albie Sachs, whose own life is testament to surviving history and overcoming prejudice, opened the exhibition. Sachs’s grandparents were from Lithuania and came to South Africa as refugees.

The exhibition features pictures, videos and memorabilia which tell the history of the survivors and how they live today. Archival documentation and visual biography are used alongside the other exhibits, creating a painfully honest account of the Holocaust.

Richard Freedman, the director of the SA Holocaust Centre, said ”Surviving History” started in Lithuania in 2009 and then travelled to Britain. He said South Africa is privileged to have the exhibition.

Mary Kluk, director of the Durban Holocaust Centre, said the exhibition is an educational resource that addresses the importance of honouring individual legacy, respect for diversity and awareness of racism.

“This exhibition seeks to express how history is lived and how world events are experienced from the inside. We should pause to reflect on the consequences of a world in which basic human rights are not protected,” she said.

“Surviving History: Portraits of Vilna ” i s on display until June 6 at the Durban Jewish Centre at 44 Old Fort Road. Admission is free.

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