KANSAS CITY, MO. – As part of the nationwide campaign, Wunderbar Together: Year of German-American Friendship, Goethe Pop Up Kansas City brings the international Holocaust remembrance project Lest We Forget to Kansas City in partnership with the National WWI Museum and Memorial. Opening on Sept. 20, this installation from German-Italian photographer and filmmaker Luigi Toscano will be exhibited on the Memorial Courtyard at the National WWI Museum and Memorial until Oct. 6, 2019.
For Lest We Forget, Toscano visited and took portraits of almost 400 Holocaust survivors in the United States, Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Israel, Belarus, Austria, and the Netherlands. These pictures are at the center of this unique photographic installation. Instead of exhibiting them in a museum or a gallery, Toscano presents the large-scale portraits together with small information panels in public places such as parks, squares, or on facades, so they are accessible to everyone. In this way, Lest We Forget reaches thousands of people – regardless of age, origin, language or education.
“The portrayed survivors are the faces and voices of the culture of remembrance,” Toscano said. “They shared a lot with us and they encouraged us to spread their portraits and stories throughout the world. But Lest We Forget is much more than just looking back at our dark past: It urges everyone to confront the past in order to ensure that nothing like the Holocaust ever happens again.”
The installation at the Museum and Memorial features 70 portraits of Holocaust survivors, seven of which were recently taken in Kansas City with support from the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education. At the formal opening ceremony at noon on Sept. 20, local survivors will be in attendance as well as political representatives and other distinguished guests. The artist will conduct guided tours following the ceremony.
Lest We Forget is under the patronage of the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, Heiko Maas.
Lest We Forget Preview
Biography Information – Kansas City Area Residents
Regina (Rivka) Dollman
Hometown– Lipiny, Poland (1929)
BIO DETAILS – When she was 11 years old, Nazis occupied Poland and the family was forced to leave their village; placed in a ghetto before being deported to different camps. The majority of the family was sent to Auschwitz and murdered. She was deported to Parschnitz, a forced labor camp in Czechoslovakia. After the war she was relocated to Palestine where she went to school and became a nurse. In the early 1950s, Rivka - Now Regina - learned that she had a a surviving aunt living in Kansas City. In 1958 she made her way to the United states.
Hometown – Hanover, Germany (1921)
BIO DETAILS – After suffering persecution in the 1930s, Eva's family left Germany after "Kristallnacht." They fled to Eva's aunt and uncle in Shanghai (occupied by Japanese). The Japanese interned Shanghai's 17,000 Jewish refugees in a ghetto; there Eva met and married her husband Werner. In 1947, Americans setup an Army base in Shanghai and helped Eva, Werner and their son to migrate to the United States.
Hometown – Budapest, Hungary (1937)
BIO DETAILS – After Germans occupied Hungary in 1944, Judy and her family where placed in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Her grandparents and extended family died in Auschwitz and her uncle died in a forced labor camp. They were freed and brought to Switzerland. In 1946 she moved to the United States with her parents where she obtained a MBA and PH.D while working and raising a family. She considers it a sacred obligation to speak about the Holocaust in order to teach its lessons.
Steven George Sherry
Hometown– Vienna, Austria (1938)
BIO DETAILS – His grandfather's retail business "Bruder Flederbaum" was destroyed on "Kristallnacht." On the same day his his uncle was arrested and imprisoned in Dachau. After enduring increasing pressure and persecution he and his family emigrated and made their way to the United sates in 1939.
Hometown – Rechnitz, Austria (1929)
BIO DETAILS – "Kristallnacht" changed his family's life in 1938 forever. With the help of O.S.E. Children's Aide Society, Erwin and his younger sister were sent to France and lived in a castle near Limoges with approximately 200 other children. After two years passed, Erwin and his sister were sponsored by Quakers to migrate to the United States. They arrived on Ellis Island in 1941 and made their way to Kansas City after living in Philadelphia. After graduation high school Erwin was drafted into the Army and served in Korea (1951-'52). Upon his return to the United States he went to college, graduated and met his wife.
Hometwon – Miedzyrec, Poland (1925)
BIO DETAILS – In 1942 The Germans forced her and her family into the ghetto where they worked as slave labor. She was deported to the Majdanek Death camp with her mother. Her mother did not survive. She was also moved through Auschwitz and Bergen-Belson camps. She met her husband at the Bergen-Belson displaced persons camp and in 1948 they made there way to Kansas City.
About Goethe Pop Up Kansas City
Goethe Pop Up Kansas City operates within the framework of Wunderbar Together: Year of German-American Friendship by hosting events, promoting cultural exchange, and serving as a platform for individuals and artists to discuss shared values and ideas. From October 2018 until late 2019, Germany is highlighting its close friendship to the United States through a yearlong festival. Working with over 200 partners, the celebration will feature over 1,000 events across all 50 states. Wunderbar Together: Year of German-American Friendship is a comprehensive and collaborative initiative funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, implemented by the Goethe-Institut, and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI).
About the National WWI Museum and Memorial
The National World WWI Museum and Memorial is America’s leading institution dedicated to remembering, interpreting and understanding the Great War and its enduring impact on the global community. The Museum and Memorial holds the most comprehensive collection of World War I objects and documents in the world and is the second-oldest public museum dedicated to preserving the objects, history and experiences of the war. The Museum and Memorial takes visitors of all ages on an epic journey through a transformative period and shares deeply personal stories of courage, honor, patriotism and sacrifice. Designated by Congress as America’s official World War I Museum and Memorial and located in downtown Kansas City, Mo., the National WWI Museum and Memorial inspires thought, dialogue and learning to make the experiences of the Great War era meaningful and relevant for present and future generations. To learn more, visit theworldwar.org.