“I Witness” features the dramatic black and white portraits of local SWFL residents who are Holocaust Survivors, Camp Liberators and Witnesses. The specially-commissioned photographic portraits were created by photographer Erik Kellar for the Museum’s 10th Anniversary. The people portrayed are those whose stories we share with students in our Education programs and Museum visitors. These are the individuals who “make history personal” for us. Erik stated “It was both an honor and a privilege to be part of this project.” Click here to read the rest of his Artist Statement about the creation of “I Witness“.
A special addition to the exhibit are the three minute videos which accompany ten of the portraits. The videos, created by Education Assistant David Nelson, use content from the Oral Visual History Project testimonies. To date, the project has worked with more than 90 Holocaust Survivors, Camp Liberators and Witnesses who have allowed the Museum to preserve their stories for future generations.
Among the portraits you will see and the stories you will hear are:
- Abe Price on anti-Semitism in Kielce, the Nazis seizing his parents’ business and he and his brothers being transported to Lublin in cattle-cars.
- Hella Wartski on the deportation of her family to Auschwitz and selection by Josef Mengele.
- Anneliese Salamon on being transported by boxcar to the Theresienstadt Ghetto.
- Jacques van Dam on being hidden by the Dutch underground and farmers in Friesland.
- Peter Thomas on the liberation of Nordhausen and his views on German bystanders.
- Sabine van Dam on her family’s attempt to flee wartime Holland, collaborators and betrayal in Belgium.
- Lorie Mayer on her family’s experiences during Kristallnacht in Eberswalde, Germany.
- Henny Porter on restrictions on Jews, Der Sturmer and Kristallnacht in Stuttgart.
- Cesare Frustaci on his survival in a detention camp outside Budapest, Hungary.
- Rosette Gerbosi on the Nazi occupation of Paris and the wearing of the Yellow Jewish star.
Don’t miss this inspiring exhibit … it is a true testament to the power of the human spirit to persevere through the darkest hours.