“Speaking Memories – The Last Witnesses of the Holocaust” - exhibition at the Swedish History Museum
“Speaking Memories – The Last Witnesses of the Holocaust” is the title of an exhibition open at the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm. It is devoted to Holocaust survivors who rebuilt their lives in Sweden after the war. The exhibition will run until 1 September 2019.
It presents portraits by Karl Gabor, witnesses accounts, original items borrowed from the Auschwitz Museum, presented for the first time in Sweden, as well as an interactive installation “Dimensions in Testimony” prepared by the USC Shoah Foundation, through which visitors can interact with a video recording of a witness of history.
“From 1940 we experienced overt antisemitism. I felt it especially from my teacher and classmates. I remember my parents’ worry. In 1944 – the end of April or the beginning of May– we were taken to the ghetto – we were placed in an old brick factory. At the end of May we were taken to the station to begin our journey to Auschwitz–Birkenau. My mother was going to help my 72-year old grandmother into a truck. It was the last time I saw her. I stayed in Auschwitz until November 1944 in the childrens barack. Then we were taken to the labor camp Hamburg-Altona. A few weeks later we were taken – mainly by foot – to Lenzig in Austria. We were liberated by the Americans on May 9, 1945. My father and brother survived Bergen-Belsen and came to Sweden but it took five years before we found each other. Personal message: I am who I am today thanks to Israel. I became a person again” - this is the memory of Elisabeth Citrom, born 8 October 1931, in Romania.
A part of the exhibition is dedicated to life of the survivors in Sweden immediately after the Holocaust. It contains personal stories and artefacts found in the Lovö camp, where survivors were placed upon their arrival in Sweden after World War II.
Items loaned out by the Auschwitz Museum to the exhibition in Stockholm include a Jewish Kiddush Cup, a suitcase belonging to deportee for extermination, striped blouse, trousers and hat of the Polish political prisoner Jan Godek no. 449, a wooden spoon made in the camp by Anna Świtkowska, as well as a tiny embellished pillow; a gift for a co-prisoner Irena Podlasin-Wesołowska.
At the exhibition, one can also explore the Visual History Archive of the USC Shoah Foundation, which contains 55,000 testimonies from survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides. The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive catalogue with the portraits of survivors as well as essays associated with the exhibition. A program of accompanying events - seminars and film screenings have been planed at the Swedish History Museum until November.
The exhibition was possible thanks to the generous support of Ulrika and Joel Citron, Elizabeth Citrom, Ida and David Dangoor as well as Annika and Gabriel Urwitz.
The organisers of the exhibition are the Swedish History Museum, Jewish Culture in Sweden, USC Shoah Foundation - Institute of Visual History and Education, as well as the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. The partners of the project are Paideia – The European Institute for Jewish studies in Sweden, The Association of Holocaust Survivors in Sweden, The Living History Forum and Adat Jeschurun Synagogue.