9th Annual Herbert H. and Irma B. Risch Memorial Program on Immigration: Stateless

Posted on April 30th, 2015 by

Stateless

Stateless

On Sunday, April 26, the JMM in partnership with the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore, the Gordon Center for Performing Arts and the Baltimore Jewish Film Festival held the 9th annual Herbert H. and Irma B. Risch Memorial Program on Immigration. Each year, thanks the generosity of Helen and Frank Risch, the JMM holds a program exploring immigration. Past programs have featured scholars, activists, storytellers and performers. This year we presented a film screening, Stateless, that documents a little known story that impacted tens of thousands of Soviet Jewish immigrants who sought safe haven in the US in the late 1980s.

Michael and Victoria Drob with Frank Risch

Michael and Victoria Drob with Frank Risch

Stateless’s director, Michael Drob, was inspired by his own personal experiences as a child when his parents made the difficult decision to emigrate from Latvia to the US in 1988. The document features interviews with several families – including his parents – who describe how difficult life was under the Soviets, the challenges they faced leaving and the chaos they encountered as they passed through customs and boarded trains on their way to Vienna and then Italy. Sadly for many immigrants, the situation did not improve in Italy as their applications for visas to the US were denied because they were forced to prove that they had been persecuted in the Soviet Union. Thousands of immigrants found themselves stranded in Italy for many months until the US policy changed following the passage of legislation and they were allowed to proceed to the US.

Panelists fielding questions from the audience.

Panelists fielding questions from the audience

Audience member asking question

Audience member asking question

We were privileged to have three distinguished guests in attendance with ties to the film– director, Michael Drob; author, Lev Golinkin; and HIAS director, Mark Hetfield – who participated in a panel discussion following the film. The three panelists shared additional insight about the events depicted in the film and fielded questions from curious audience members. Attendees also had the opportunity to purchase copies of Mr. Golinkin’s book, A Backpack, A Bear and Eight Crates of Vodka which details his experiences as a child refugee from the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

Author Lev Golinkin

Author Lev Golinkin

The Gordon Center proved to be a beautiful setting for the program and we were delighted to see more than 400 people in attendance including representation from Baltimore’s Russian community. I was moved to hear so many people speak of their own personal experiences as immigrants during this time period. Many more talked about how surprised they were to learn about the events depicted in the film.

Frank and Helen Risch

Frank and Helen Risch

Frank and Helen Risch established the Herbert H. and Irma B. Risch Memorial Program in order to honor Frank’s parents who were refugees from Germany who escaped to Baltimore in the 1930s. Each year’s program shines a light on the importance of immigration to contemporary Jewish life and inspires conversation and dialog on this topic. We are grateful to the Risches for giving us this opportunity.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Once Upon a Time…02.28.2014

Posted on November 4th, 2014 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Joanna Church at 410.732.6400 x236 or email jchurch@jewishmuseummd.org

 

1995114004001fDate run in Baltimore Jewish Times:  February 28, 2014

 

PastPerfect Accession #:  1995.114.004.001f

 

Status:  Partially identified! Do you recognize anyone else from this HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) trip to Annapolis, June 9, 1984 Left to Right: 1. Unidentified 2. unidentified 3. unidentified 4. Sandy Tour

 

Special Thanks To: Sandy Tour

 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Once Upon A Time…08.30.2013

Posted on March 4th, 2014 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Jobi Zink, Senior Collections Manager and Registrar at 410.732.6400 x226 or jzink@jewishmuseummd.org.

 

1996063045Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times:  August 30, 2013

PastPerfect Accession #:  1996.063.045

Status:  Unidentified – do you know these young immigrants, associated with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)?

 

 

 

 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland