August 29, 1996
Holocaust Art Exhibit Reception Sept. 16
"Remembering the Holocaust: Art and Reconciliation" a nationally touring art and photography exhibit, will open the Wyman Concert and Lecture series at UW- River Falls on Sept. 16.
A special reception and lecture is set for 3:30 p.m. in Gallery 101 of the Kleinpell Fine Arts Building.
The exhibit features the paintings of World War II and Holocaust survivor Fritz Hirschberger of San Francisco, and the War and Post-War photos of La Crosse native Maxine Rude.
Hirschberger's paintings, done in a native style with a Renaissance texture, depict some of the major aspects of the Holocaust as it affected himself , his family, including the death of his father in a Nazi concentration camp, and Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
Hirschberger was exiled from Germany by gunpoint after his arrest by the Gestapo in 1938, and sent to Poland where he was later arrested by Soviet forces and sentenced to a slave labor camp. He was freed as a condition of the U.S.-Soviet Alliance and then fought in the Free Polish Corps.
The curator of the Magnes Museum described the artist's decision to portray the Holocaust after confronting his feelings through readings.
"He was horrified by the obsessive use of numbers; the numbers of people killed in each camp; the numbers of people exterminated by various methods; the numbers of Jewish villages erased. His anger was also kindled after reading about those people who distorted the details and questioned the existence of the Holocaust, those who collaborated with the Nazis, and the governments who continued to persecute others even after the war, as well as by the supposedly "reasonable" players during the war: the world leaders who turned their backs and shut their eyes to the atrocities being committed."
Hirschberger's paintings depict historic events and the daily realities affecting the concentration camps, including the 1933 Vatican Concordant that supported the nationalist stance of Germany; the use of Zyklon B to gas Jewish victims; the 38-nation Evian Conference in which only two nations agreed to accept Jewish immigrants fleeing German persecution; pleas for help from the Polish Jewish Combat Organization shortly before the annihilation of the Warsaw ghetto in 1943; the post-war murders of 1,000 death camp survivors in pogroms as they returned to their homes in Poland.
Rude's photographs are a result of her attendance at the Nuremberg War Crime Trials of the Nazi leadership and the liberation and aftermath of the concentration camps.
Gallery 101, the history and journalism departments, in collaboration with the Wyman Series, are sponsors of the exhibit and presentation.
For more information, contact Concerts & Lectures at 715/ 425-4911.