Together We Remember

Posted on April 20th, 2017 by

The Occasional Symphony opened the program with a short performance in the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

The Occasional Symphony opened the program with a short performance in the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

This past Sunday, the JMM was privileged to host a community gathering in the Lloyd Street Synagogue dedicated to honoring and commemorating the victims of genocide and mass atrocities worldwide.  #TogetherWeRemember is a global initiative that sponsors the readings of the names of victims as a means towards compiling the first comprehensive digital memorial to the victims of genocide. Founded by David Estrin while he was still a student at Duke University in 2013 as a way of honoring his grandparents, each of whom survived the Holocaust, the JMM was honored to participate in this event.

David Estrin and Senator Ben Cardin begin the reading of names.

David Estrin and Senator Ben Cardin begin the reading of names.

Over the course of two hours, community members took turns reading names of victims of such atrocities as the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, the Rwandan Genocide, the Argentinian Dirty War, and the conflicts in Darfur, South Sudan and Syrian. What a powerful way to make connections between our current exhibit on display, Remembering Auschwitz: History, Holocaust, Humanity to other historical and contemporary events and served as a reminder that sadly the Holocaust was not the first, nor the last instance of genocide.

Readers

Readers

We are grateful to David Estrin and to the many participants and attendees at Sunday’s program – including Senator Ben Cardin and Delegates Shelly Hettleman and Dana Stein – for helping us to remember the lives of those lost.

Participants left meaningful notes

Participants left meaningful notes

deborahA blog post by Deputy Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts from Deborah click HERE.

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My visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau

Posted on February 24th, 2017 by

As we will be opening Remembering Auschwitz: History, Holocaust and Humanity on March 5th, it made me think of my visit a few years ago to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. While I had learned about the Holocaust from an early age and had visited many Holocaust memorials and museums, nothing could prepare me for visiting the site where 1.1 million men, women and children lost their lives, including nearly 1 million Jews.

The entrance to Auschwitz Birkenau

The entrance to Auschwitz Birkenau Concentration Camp

The day started in Krakow where I awoke early to take a bus through the Polish countryside to the town of Oswiecim, now known better by its German name of Auschwitz. I began by passing under the infamous sign “Arbeit Mach Frei”, translated as “work makes you free.” I first spent time in Auschwitz 1 which was the main camp and was where the Nazis carried out the first experiments at using Zyklon B to put people to death. It was also where the camp commandant’s office and most of the SS offices were located.

Guard house and barracks in Auschwitz 1

Guard house and barracks in Auschwitz 1

I stood in the courtyard where the SS conducted executions by shootings. In the museum, I saw haunting exhibits of victim’s belongings such as worn shoes, glasses and abandoned luggage. There were also rooms of empty poison gas containers and human hair. One particularly affecting room was full of children’s clothing.

Cattle car and train tracks

Cattle car and train tracks

I then proceeded to Auschwitz II, also known as Birkenau, which was where millions died in the gas chambers. I was struck by the scale of the complex which seemed to stretch as far as the eye could see. The camp was surrounded by miles of barbed wire fencing and guard towers. I found Birkenau to be a more meditative space, generally free from the tour groups in the crowded barracks. I walked along the train tracks to a sole cattle car which once carried victims to the camps. I stood in silence inside one of the remaining gas chambers. I also paid my respects at the ruins of crematoria and pits which were filled with human ashes. The prisoner barracks were damp with not much light coming through and had what seemed like hundreds of wooden bunks inside.

A visible reminder of the people now gone

A visible reminder of the people now gone

Throughout my visit, I felt a sense of numbness, shock and grief. I returned to Krakow feeling empty inside and unable to comprehend how humanity could be capable of such evil. Although this was an emotional day, I am glad I visited because I believe it is important to see first-hard the evidence of the concentration camps.

Schindler's office and enamelware made by the factory workers.

Schindler’s office and enamelware made by the factory workers.

The next day I visited Oskar Schindler’s enamelware factory, which tells the inspiring story of how Schindler saved over a thousand Jews from the camps. While the day before I had witnessed the worst of humanity, the next day my faith in humanity was slightly renewed.

My Holocaust journey did not end in Poland. After I returned to the states, I returned to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum where I learned more background on the Shoah. I also discovered great resources on their website on how individuals can take steps to fight against anti-Semitism in their own communities. Even if you are not able to travel to Auschwitz, I encourage everyone to visit their local Holocaust Museum and to stand up against genocide that may be happening around the world. Like many of you, I await with anticipation our Remembering Auschwitz exhibit and look forward to attending many of the upcoming programs ranging from presentations by Holocaust survivors to artist insights and musical performances.

GrahamA blog post by Graham Humphrey, Visitor Services Coordinator. To read more posts by Graham click HERE.

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An Invitation For Holocaust Survivors, Descendants and Their Families

Posted on June 15th, 2016 by

The Jewish Museum of Maryland is about to embark on an exciting new project designed to honor our community’s Holocaust survivors. As part of the Holocaust Memory Reconstruction Project, we are inviting artist Lori Schocket to spend the next two weeks with us as she facilitates a series of workshops for Holocaust survivors, descendants and their families. (Visit www.thehumanelementproject.com to learn more about similar projects that Lori has facilitated in other communities.)

Participants are asked to bring with them artifacts, including photographs and documents, that highlight their experiences before, during and after the Holocaust, as well as a written statement that summarizes their stories.

A collage from a previous workshop

A collage from a previous workshop

During the workshops, which last between 2 ½ to 3 hours, Lori, along with a group of JMM staff members and volunteers, will assist participants as they share stories and incorporate the materials they have brought with them into collages on a 10” x 10” foam panel.

Previous workshop participants

Previous workshop participants

Each collage will be reproduced onto a large metal framework that will become an art installation. The installation will be featured in the JMM’s upcoming Remembering Auschwitz: History, Holocaust, Humanity exhibition on display March 5-May 29, 2016.

Remembering Auschwitz also includes A Town Known As Auschwitz, an exhibition developed by the Museum of Jewish Heritage, A Living Memorial To the Holocaust, and explores the pre-Holocaust history of the town, Oswiecim, where the camp was located.

Remembering Auschwitz also includes A Town Known As Auschwitz, an exhibition developed by the Museum of Jewish Heritage, A Living Memorial To the Holocaust, and explores the pre-Holocaust history of the town, Oswiecim, where the camp was located.

Workshops take place the following dates, times and locations:

Sunday, June 19: Jewish Museum of Maryland (15 Lloyd Street, Baltimore, 21202)

  • 10am-1:00pm
  • 2:00-5:00pm

Monday, June 20: Jewish Museum of Maryland (15 Lloyd Street, Baltimore, 21202)

  • 1:00-4:00pm
  • 6:00-9:00pm

Tuesday, June 21: Jewish Museum of Maryland (15 Lloyd Street, Baltimore, 21202)

  • 1:00-4:00pm
  • 6:00-9:00pm

Sunday, June 26: JCC (5700 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, 21215 – In the Community Room)

  • 1:00-4:00pm

Monday, June 27: JCC (5700 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, 21215 – In the Community Room)

  • 6:00-9:00pm

Tuesday, June 28: JCC (5700 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, 21215 – In the Community Room)

  • 6:00-9:00pm
Another sample collage

Another sample collage

We are pleased to partner with so many different organizations on this project including the Human Element Project, Baltimore Jewish Council, Jewish Communal Services, Center for Jewish Education and the JCC.

Please contact me at 410-732-6400 x236 / dcardin@jewishmuseummd.org for more information or to register for a workshop.

 

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