March 2023 Update

March 2023

Being at the Reagan Presidential Library premiere of the monumental exhibit, ‘Auschwitz—Not Long Ago, Not Far Away’ was not only a tremendous honor, but also a chance to reconnect with colleagues who have become friends over the years.

Here is Robert Jan van Pelt, the Chief Curator of the Exhibit, pointing out his father’s star to Piotr Cywinski, the Director of State Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Caption: Robert Jan on right, Piotr on left

Luis Ferreiro (left) is the Head of Musealia, which is the organization that commissioned the Auschwitz exhibition He resides in San Sebastion, Spain. Robert Jan van Pelt, the chief curator of the exhibit, resides in Canada, where he is an architectural historian at the University of Waterloo. He is one of the world’s foremost experts on Auschwitz. Among other works, he co-authored the award-
winning book, Auschwitz 1270-the Present (with Professor Deborah Dwork).

But most exciting of all, was the reunion with Art Paikowsky, currently of Arizona, but formerly from Philadelphia, where he organized one of the first ever missions to Eastern Europe, while it was still under Communist control. As a participant—but one who had never been on a group tour, I had no idea how crucial it was to stay with the group. Because of the prestige of most of the participants of the group, Auschwitz —which was closed to the public when we arrived—was kept open just for our small group. Unfortunately, I became separated from the group and in a locked Auschwitz—running trying to find anyone alive—I discovered the photos that became the genesis of Eyes from the
Ashes Educational Foundation.

Art attended the premiere and later told me that his part in this story was one of the proudest things he had done in his life (This is saying quite a lot, considering all the buildings he secured funds to get built, and the millions of dollars he raised for the Birthright program.).

Art Paikowsky and Ann, at the Reagan Library

The exhibit features photos from our book, arranged in this way: The visitor comes around a corner and walks directly into our photos, titled “The Lost World of the Victims”. Perpendicular to our photos are images of the Nazi murderers, shown relaxing and frolicking at Auschwitz. It is a most dramatic arrangement!

Insert Photo 4: Ann at the exhibit “

The Lost World of the Victims”—featuring
photographs from The Last Album: Eyes from the Ashes of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

This wall, perpendicular to our photos, is simply labeled:
“The World of the Perpetrators”. I have chosen NOT to feature photos of the murderers here, only the photos of the Jews BEFORE they became victims.

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