Message from Director:
It’s been close to 25 years since I first saw these photos from Auschwitz, a quarter century since my eyes were opened. Then, alongside the all too familiar images of brutalized, skeletal dead Jews, for the first time, it was in October 1986 when I saw the pictures Jews brought to Auschwitz for their own remembering–the simple, vibrant images of what they did and how they looked when they were simply living their lives. It changed my world.
And judging from the response of many others who have seen my film, exhibition or book, or heard my presentations over these past twenty-five years, these photos have been a revelation to others as well.
This summer is a good time to pause and look back at recent highlights.
At Emory last fall, we exhibited photos all over Emory’s campus and I participated in programs at Center for Ethics (with Paul Wolpe and staff)
at exhibition premiere at Visual Arts Gallery (here photos are being set up),
Here is audience at the gallery, before I began a walking tour of the photos.
My talk was scheduled by Emory to take place
on same day that the Dalai Lama was also speaking.
On Yom Hashoah, for Holocaust Remembrance Day, I was honored to speak in Cincinnati at the invitation of The Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education. It was a beautiful program, complete with moving survivor accounts and performance by the famed Cincinnati Boys Choir.
And before I left Cincinnati, I spoke to a well-informed high school audience, whose superintendent, history department head, and principal are pictured below, left to right, together with Sarah Weiss (no relation), Executive Director of the Center. I taught a session to students on history, culture and humanity, featuring stories and photos from the collection.
I’d like to mention that this school district is quite impressive; despite dreadful budget cuts and very little financial support for the school, these students regularly score among the highest in the area on standardized tests. Credit goes to the students, of course, but also to tremendous dedication of the teaching staff, principal and superintendent who expect, and will accept nothing less than, students’ best efforts–which they give!
Directly from Ohio,I flew to Oregon, where we premiered The Last Album photo exhibition in a new way at the Downtown Initiative for the Visual Arts (DIVA): only half of the collection was premiered from May-June, and because of the size of the collection, the second half was not shown until July, which created an opportunity for a second premiere. Because of community support, the exhibition has been held over until August.
Eugene City Art Walk chose several galleries in town to spotlight–and ours was one!
I spoke at an urban high school on Cinquo de Mayo, where students reacted privately after my presentation. One young woman approached me in the courtyard, where a mariachi student band was performing, and pinatas were hung. She asked, “What do you feel when you look at these pictures?” Being an educator, I asked her, “What do YOU feel?”
Her answer was simple and unforgettable: “I can feel the way they felt.”
Finally, when I was in Eugene, I met Debbie Strochlic, who recognized her father’s photograph in my collection. She told me about the man her father was, shared stories about him and showed me a number of his documents. Together we co-created a new section of the exhibition, for the Eugene premiere.
With gratitude and appreciation, Eyes from the Ashes moves into our twenty-fifth year…and looks forward to more, much more!
Ann Weiss, Director