Rebirth After the Holocaust: The Bergen-Belsen Displaced Persons Camp, 1945-1950
"Rebirth After the Holocaust: The Bergen-Belsen Displaced Persons Camp, 1945-1950" an exhibition that features photos and other artifacts drawn from survivors, liberators and their families, is being exhibited at the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford through August 20, 2008.
The exhibit depicts an inspiring and untold chapter in Jewish history, when the uprooted and homeless Jewish survivors who were liberated from the Bergen-Belsen Camp emerged from the destruction of the Holocaust with a determination to rebuild their lives. Over the next five years Bergen-Belsen became the largest Displaced Persons camp in Germany, forming a vibrant center of rehabilitation, reconstruction, and rebirth.
This self-governed Jewish community established political, cultural, religious, educational, and social activities that renewed Jewish life. The survivors' demonstrations of an ardent Zionist enthusiasm played a prominent role in decisions leading to the creation of the State of Israel.
The exhibition also features photos and artifacts from local survivors of the Holocaust who spent years in Displaced Persons camps after the war.
The exhibition is a central pillar of Greenberg Center events this spring. On April 6 and 7, 2008, during the Zionism Between the Wars Symposium, a special reception will be held.
An opening reception for the exhibit was held on Sunday March 2 in Wilde Auditorium in the Harry Jack Gray Center at the University of Hartford. It featured the Judith P. Wolfson lecture, "Close Encounters: Jews and Germans in Occupied Germany" by Dr. Atina Grossmann, professor of history at The Cooper Union. The lecture was sponsored by the Judith P. Wolfson Memorial Endowment Lecture Fund, established by Nicholas Wolfson, with additional support from the departments of History, Jewish Studies, and the Zachs Hillel House at Trinity College.
The exhibit made possible by Dr. Romana Strochlitz Primus and Charles Primus, Rafael and Lois Wurzel, Jaime and Sue Wurzel and The Strochlitz Foundation in memory of Rose and Sigmund Strochlitz, Holocaust survivors and displaced persons. "Rebirth after the Holocaust" is on loan from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and was curated by Sam E. Bloch, President, World Federation of Bergen-Belsen Associations, and Jean Bloch Rosensaft, Director, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum, New York.
Atina Grossmann delivered her lecture, "Close Encounters: Jews and Germans in Occupied Germany," based on her recent book, Jews, Germans, and Allies, published by Princeton University Press. She is a professor of history in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Cooper Union in New York City where she teaches Modern German and European History, and Gender Studies, and a faculty associate at the Remarque Center for European Studies at New York University. She has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, German Marshall Fund, American Council of Learned Societies Fellowships, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and the American Academy in Berlin.
Her publications include Reforming Sex: The German Movement for Birth Control and Abortion Reform, 1920-1950 (1995), Crimes of War: Guilt and Denial in the Twentieth Century (co-editor with Bartov and Nolan, 2001), and her most recent book is Jews, Germans, and Allies: Close Encounters in Occupied Germany, 1945-1949 (Princeton University Press, 2007).