"Art & Memory" - An Educational Project of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum

Uploaded by ushmm on 28.08.2009

NARRATOR: Sixty-four years and thousands of miles separate war-ravaged Europe in 1945
from this elementary school in southeast Washington, DC - the setting for a week-long meeting of
minds and creativity involving Holocaust survivors and teen ambassadors from "Bringing the Lessons
Home," a long-standing Holocaust education program from the United States Holocaust Memorial
Museum. "Art and Memory," an adaptation by the Holocaust Museum of an educational project
first done in the Israeli community of Ness Ziona, is concerned with head-to-head collaboration
between these survivors and their younger colleagues. The task at hand? Capture in a
piece of artwork the essence of the stories told by each survivor of what they experienced
during the Holocaust. The artistic abilities of each participant vary greatly, but the
artwork that results is only a secondary goal to be achieved.
ALEXIS SANCHEZ: I don't really think it's about the art and how well it looks. Sure,
it would look really well if it was an amazing work of art. But, I really think it's more
about the message that the painting is sending out to the people who are going to be seeing
JAMES FLEMING: How else can we change the future if we don't learn from our past? In
order to move forward, you need to know your past. So, we want to learn from you all and
this is what we're going to partake in this week.
NARRATOR: The first day is spent with the Bringing the Lessons Home ambassadors breaking
into individual groups with one survivor apiece, talking with them, listening, and learning.
BTLH AMBASSADOR: I have a question.
BTLH AMBASSADOR: What is your most vivid memory during this time in history?
SURVIVOR VOLUNTEER: I remember going to school in Germany. I remember having to take the
trolley, and my father was worried. He followed the trolley on his, on a bicycle every day.
LOUISE LAWRENCE-ISRAELS: We must have been betrayed. Somebody must have said, "There's
a Jewish family living up in the attic," and our fake identity papers - my mom's and Selma's
were okay, but there was something wrong with my dad's, so they didn't like my dad's and
took him, and they put him in a prison.
NARRATOR: Work then begins in earnest. As the teams of ambassadors and survivors start
the process of giving visual shape and substance to recollections of things past.
JILL PAULY: My sister went by herself to Cologne on the train and saw the burning synagogue
and the broken glass and the Gestapo told her to go back home. And this is a picture
of my grandmother which these wonderful kids created, sheltering me, holding her hand in
front of my eyes so I wouldn't see the burning synagogue.
JAMES FLEMING: I'm surprised at the level of artwork from an artist's standpoint that
these students and our survivors were able to create. The collaboration of different
mediums and different tools and techniques is remarkable. I'm really in awe of what I'm
NARRATOR: The finished artwork will be on display at schools, churches and synagogues
around Baltimore-Washington area and the value of this program as a Holocaust education tool
is more than apparent to survivor and ambassador alike.
ROSE CHAI: It's really, like, shine a new light on what the Holocaust, like a different
perspective, and it's just, it's great working with her because I'm getting her childhood
memories. And, so, it's just, it's good to hear it firsthand.
HALINA PEABODY: It gives me great pleasure that our stories and our memories are being
commemorated, you know, particularly in my case, it's with my mother, who was the one
who saved my sister and me, so this is something I think that is for her, so she's not forgotten.