The exhibition will be on display at the Faculty of Theology of the Humboldt University.
The Jewish genocide in war-torn Europe claimed millions of lives. In the face of the tragic fate of Jews, local populations of countries occupied or allied with the III Reich along with some ordinary Germans faced a dilemma that they had probably never envisaged: how to react to such a mass atrocity? While individual responses to this question differed widely, only few offered help to people seeking to survive.
What was the daily experience of Jews hiding from the German machine of extermination and those who brought them help, sometimes even risking their lives? The “Between Life and Death” exhibition that juxtaposes these two distinct yet intertwined perspectives will be inaugurated at the Jewish Community in Dresden on 1 March 2020. The travelling display showcases personal stories of Holocaust survivors and rescuers from eleven different countries set against a broader historical context. The opening in Dresden is part of the Week of Brotherhood program, organised every year since 1952 in one German city by the Federal Council of Christian-Jewish Dialogue Assocations.
The exhibition presents accounts from eleven European countries: Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine. Part of it relates to two German citizens. The Jewish seamstress, Alice Löwenthal survived the persecution thanks to various rescuers in Berlin, Strausberg and Weimar. It was only after the war ended that she learned that her two daughters, whom she believed to be in a safe hideaway, had been victims of denunciation . The second example showcases the famous rescuer, owner of a brushes and brooms workshop in Berlin, Otto Weidt. He is one of about 600 Germans recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by the Yad Vashem in Israel.
By outlining stories of survivors along with those of rescuers, the display highlights the complexity of human relations under extreme conditions. The testimonies are also shown against a broader historical background to offer a more comprehensive understanding of local chances for Jews to survive and for helpers to provide aid.
Check out the exhibitions catalogue in German