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The Birmingham Holocaust Education Committee presents:

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Presentation on theme: "The Birmingham Holocaust Education Committee presents:"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Birmingham Holocaust Education Committee presents:

2 It has been more than 70 years since the creation of the first Nazi concentration camps.

3 Six million Jews died in those camps, as well as hundreds of thousands of others the Nazis considered socially undesirable.


5 From the terrible darkness of the Holocaust…

6 to successful lives in Alabama nearly seven decades later…

7 many of Alabamas survivors stories have been captured in the exhibit Darkness into Life by Becky Seitel and Mitzi J. Levin.

8 Through their words and our photography and art, we share their stories o f hope and survival. Darkness into Life was designed to educate through shared memories, inspire by example, and celebrate the lives of 20 Alabama Holocaust survivors. Becky Seitel and Mitzi J. Levin

9 Viewer Comments

10 What began as a project became an insatiable quest, not only drawing on their considerable talents, but forcing them to reach deep within themselves as nine Jewish survivors entrusted to these two women their most precious possessions…the narrative of their lives. The end product is a remarkable mix of drama, darkness, poignancy, and celebration captured as well by the title of the exhibit. The genius of Mitzi and Becky goes beyond their paintings and photographs. It is in their voices, in their ability to tell the story anew, especially to those of us who think we know it. Through Darkness into Life they have again reminded us of what really happened when a third of our people - 20% of them children - vanished in an instant. Richard Friedman Executive Director, Birmingham Jewish Federation Darkness into Life, Phase I, April 2007

11 { What a wonderful testimony to those great heroes. They overcame the worst life had to offer and embraced the gift of life. They built new lives contributing to a world that turned their back on them. I learned a lot that I havent learned in textbooks. Great exhibition of the beautiful air of optimism that persisted despite the struggles. Moving stories, wonderful photographs, and stunning artwork. It definitely gives me pause to count my blessings Id not previously considered.

12 Becky Seitel and Mitzi Levin graciously donated their exhibit to the Birmingham Holocaust Education Committee, a regional division of the Alabama Holocaust Commission. The mission of the Committee is to facilitate education and understanding of the Holocaust by providing information, materials, speakers, teachers workshops, community events, and programming.

13 Over the last several years the exhibit has traveled extensively throughout the state of Alabama and has been seen in a variety of venues including: Levite Jewish Community Center Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Alabama State Capitol Mobile Museum of Art Mary Hardin Cultural Center, Gadsden Schools, libraries, and community centers

14 Levite Jewish Community Center

15 Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

16 Cullman Middle School

17 Mary Hardin Cultural Center, Gadsden

18 Alabama State Capitol

19 Sample Photography and Narrative Prized Possession by Becky Seitel At 11 years old, Ruth Siegler had many favorite toys, a warm and safe home, and a loving family in Sinzenich, Germany. Her life began to change on November 9, 1938, the Night of Broken Glass, or Kristallnacht. That night, Jewish homes, including Ruths, and stores were ransacked in a thousand German cities, towns, and villages. German mobs destroyed buildings, leaving the streets covered in smashed windows. Hundreds of Jews were beaten to death and 30,000 Jewish men were taken to concentration camps. Shortly thereafter, Ruths family was interred in a refugee / transit camp. From there, they were sent to Terezin (Theresienstadt), a concentration camp in northwest Czechoslovakia. I was a frightened teenager who lost everything: my parents, brother, home, toys, all the things that made me feel safe, she recalls. Suddenly, my most prized possession was the bowl I was issued upon entering the camp. Every prisoner was given a bowl, one bowl. It was so important to survival that you kept it with you at all times. If you lost it, or it was stolen, you were not given another. Prisoners then had two choices: steal someone elses bowl, or wait for someone to die and take their bowl.

20 Sample Art and Narrative Henry Aizenman Liberation by Mitzi J. Levin We heard the Americans and the British were bombing Germany. We didnt care if they hit us. On May 2, 1945, the German guards started evacuating in trucks and on foot. Prisoners broke into the armory, opened the gates, and started running around with rifles. It was total chaos. I was laughing hysterically. A jeep with American soldiers approached our camp, Wöbbelin, near Ludwigslust. When they saw what was happening, they left and later returned in a tank. I was liberated that day by the Americans. I was 14 years old.

21 Size Darkness Into Life contains biographies and narratives for 20 Alabama Holocaust survivors. The collection has 78 photos and paintings as well as five descriptive boards which include Title Board, Memorial, Acknowledgment Boards, and Maps. The full exhibit requires approximately 2200 square feet of gallery space. Alternative display space such as free-standing peg-boards may also be used.

22 Fees There is no cost associated with hosting the exhibit within Alabama. In some cases, there may be a fee for shipping. To date, that shipping fee has been minimal as venues have been able to use their own employees and inexpensive rental trucks to ship the exhibit. The exhibit arrives crated with detailed instructions regarding how to display.

23 Additional Materials The DVD Darkness Into Life, featuring survivors and artists talking about their experience and their artwork, is supplied. This DVD can be looped to run continuously during the exhibit.

24 Additional Materials Children of the Holocaust, a documentary of nine Birmingham survivors telling their story using original photographs and film footage is included.

25 Additional Materials Along with the exhibit manual, we include a CD of reproducible materials including the exhibit logo, sample press release, images of publicity artwork, exhibit brochures for distribution to visitors, and educational materials.

26 Speakers Available Several of our survivors have been available to travel to speak at the various venues where the exhibit has been presented. The artists are also available to speak.

27 Darkness into Life is presented by: The Birmingham Holocaust Education Committee, a regional division of the Alabama Holocaust Commission

28 Contact Information Please visit our Web site at or contact Barbara Solomon Exhibit Coordinator Birmingham Holocaust Education Committee Office

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