Holocaust & Memory Reframed
The aim of the project ‘Holocaust and Memory Reframed’ was to produce a series of international art installations and initiatives based at the Lake District Holocaust Project over two summer and autumn periods in 2016 and 2017.
The exhibitions look at work that explore aspects of Post Holocaust arts and culture and relate to “the representation of the unrepresentational”.
Ian Walton’s exhibition/installation, Breath Becomes Air, is an important contribution to the programme that includes significant artists from throughout Europe. This is on display until 29 October 2016.
Ian is based in the Lake District in England and his artistic concerns ally closely to certain aspects of the Lake District Holocaust Project (LDHP) and its attempt to deal with the changing nature of Holocaust memorialisation and commemoration.
Ian Walton’s attention to detail together with his use of found objects and material can be interpreted as a multi-dimensional travelogue of place and time.
A series of mirrors depicting photographs taken at Theresienstadt & Auschwitz Birkenau, together with the shoes below that formed part of the installation
He has travelled to locations in Krakow and Prague during which he encountered Auschwitz Birkenau and Theresienstadt. His visit to Budapest in Hungary led to him witnessing aspects of Holocaust memorialization that informed the use of shoes as a significant element of the installation on show in Windermere.
It is notable that he made these journeys unknowingly at the same time as LDHP was emerging in Windermere. This synchronicity is heightened by the fact that that there were children from Poland and Hungary amongst those who came to Windermere in 1945, and a significant number of the three hundred children had passed through Auschwitz before being finally liberated from Theresienstadt.
From left to right: Eternal Leaving, Shadow of the Music Wall and Passio
Time spent in the company of survivors is time spent in the company of those who experienced and witnessed events that are indescribable and yet these witnesses hold out their hands to us and try to explain, and we hold out our hands to them in the attempt to understand.
We know that they speak not only for themselves but also for those lost in the Holocaust……
As time passes then the question of how we engage with these time led changes is inexorable and we are duty bound to both honour the testimonies and to be a witness on behalf of the witnesses.
The ways in which we can do this will evolve along with the ways that people will engage with the testimonies. It is in this way that the context within which we negotiate with these testimonies will, in a quite profound way, be reframed.
A vital truth that lies at the core of these witness testimonies will remain though. We forget at our peril.
’45 Aid Society Reunion
We were delighted to attend the 71st Reunion of the ’45 Aid Society in London in May 2016.
The ’45 Aid Society – Holocaust Survivors’ was set up in 1963 by the first child Survivors who arrived in the UK in 1945 – some of whom stayed in Windermere . “It’s mission has been to remember those who were lost, to help their members who needed help; to teach the lessons of the Holocaust; to spread the message of tolerance; and to help others more widely”.
Those Survivors who were able, together with their children and grandchildren, attended the Reunion. A special presentation was made to Ben Helfgott, who is now retiring after many years as Chairman of the Society.
Holocaust Survivors’ Centre
In response to their kind invitation, we visited the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre in North London, where a number of the children, who had stayed in the Lake District in 1945, were able to meet with us. It was a rare opportunity for those at the LDHP Project to talk with these Survivors, their wives and second and third generations.
The Holocaust Survivor’s Centre is the only centre in the UK that was designed specifically for Holocaust Survivors. It provides a programme of “social, cultural and therapeutic events”.
Holocaust Memorial Day
On the 27th January we marked HMD with a special event at The Lakes School at Troutbeck Bridge. The school is on the site of the former Calgarth Estate where the children stayed in 1945.
A moving tribute to Alfred Huberman, one of the remarkable child Holocaust Survivors who came to the Lake District directly from the concentration camps in 1945, played a central role in HMD 2016 commemorations in Windermere.
An early photograph of Alfred Huberman
Over seven hundred children, staff and guests at the Lakes School saw the launch of the Alfred Huberman Writing Award for schools as part of the HMD 2016 commemorations. Alfred Huberman’s wife Shirley and their daughter Caroline travelled from Brighton and were at the event. They spoke movingly of their father and of his time both at Windermere and his later life. The family has been very supportive of the LDHP and their support has enabled the writing Award initiative. They see it as a perfect way to continue Alfred’s work as he spoke to many students during his lifetime about the Holocaust.
A powerful introduction to the Holocaust and Genocide by Deputy Head Teacher Mick Gallop was followed by meaningful words from Sylvia Emmot, Chair of South Lakeland District Council.
Trevor Avery, Director of Lake District Holocaust Project offered a compelling description of the special significance of the connection between the Lakes School site and the three hundred Jewish orphans who arrived in August 1945.
Councillor Sylvia Emmott, Deputy Head Mick Gallop, Caroline & Shirley Huberman & Trevor Avery
The school was built on the former site of Calgarth Estate, a wartime factory workers housing scheme, and it was to this estate that the children came and stayed for what was described as the beginning of their “recuperation”.
Trevor spoke of the essential importance of Holocaust Memorial Day and Holocaust Education and how the lessons that we can learn from the horrors of the Holocaust can help us all as we face up to challenges of the present day. He held up the inspirational example of the Jewish children who arrived without anything other than hope, and how the young people of today carry that hope into the future.
A further ceremony was held at the home of the Lake District Holocaust Project in Windermere and was attended by people from far and wide.