Friday, August 19, 2022

Union—Aliza Augustine and Janet R. Kirchheimer, both daughters of Holocaust survivors, have been invited to exhibit their work at Kean University, Human Rights Institute Gallery. Their exhibit, How to Spot One of Us, runs from January 26 through May 18.The opening is Tuesday, February 10 from 5:00 – 7:00pm and is open to all.

Child survivor and writer Aliza Augustine said what motivated her was that, “After the death of the last witnesses, the remembrance of the Holocaust must not be entrusted to historians alone. Now comes the hour of artistic creation.

“The last survivors of the Holocaust are aging and passing away, and the responsibility to remember and share their stories falls to the next generation. The Second Generation (2G), the sons and daughters of survivors represent a group born after the end of WWII through the 1960s. As children, the stories they heard from their parents defined and shaped them into the adults they have become. Living with the tales of horror and survival, many feel a moral imperative to pass on these stories in the hopes of preventing future genocides. We both understand the Holocaust from this defining viewpoint.”

How to Spot One of Us is a collaborative exhibit by Augustine and Kirchheimer, both daughters of Holocaust survivors, featuring photographs by Augustine and poetry and film by Kirchheimer. They met at a 2G event last year and discussed how art can further Holocaust remembrance. The exhibit is an outgrowth of those conversations.

Augustine’s work honors her father, aged 9, uncle, aged 14, and grandparents who escaped from France to Portugal in late 1942. Using photographs taken in Europe in 2013 as background, Augustine’s cinema-wide narrative portraits are from her ongoing series, Documenting the Second Generation: Children of Survivors of the Holocaust. This long-range series is intentionally contemporary to reach an audience who may think the Holocaust happened in the distant past.

Accompanying the portraits is a mixed media series using Augustine’s 2013 photographs and Kirchheimer’s poems. Kirchheimer’s work is informed by her experience as the daughter of two survivors from Germany. At 16, her father was arrested and sent to Dachau during Kristallnacht, and her mother, age 6, was sent by her parents to an orphanage in Amsterdam. The exhibit also includes Kirchheimer’s film, How I Knew and When, based on one of her poems. The short film stars Kirchheimer and her mother and details some of the ways she came to know about the Holocaust. In her speaking and teaching, she strives to inspire the next generations to remember the Shoah through study and action.

Said Augustine, “We both believe that the past is not simply in the past, but rather a vital part of the present and that the knowledge of history may help to prevent future genocides.”

The gallery is located at 1000 Morris Avenue, Union, NJ. (908-737-0392) http://www.kean.edu/~gallery/Current.html.

For more information on sitting for a portrait, contact [email protected] or for the film and poetry, contact [email protected]

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