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Opening of the Exhibition “Virtues of Memory: Six Decades of Holocaust Survivors’ Creativity”

Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev and curator of the exhibition and Deputy Director of the Museums Division Yehudit Shendar at the opening of the exhibition Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev and curator of the exhibition and Deputy Director of the Museums Division Yehudit Shendar at the opening of the exhibition
Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev, Director General of the Ministry of Education Dr. Shimshon Shoshani, and curator of the exhibition and Deputy Director of the Museums Division Yehudit Shendar Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev, Director General of the Ministry of Education Dr. Shimshon Shoshani, and curator of the exhibition and Deputy Director of the Museums Division Yehudit Shendar
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On Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, April 12, 2010, Yad Vashem opened a unique new exhibition, “Virtues of Memory: Six Decades of Holocaust Survivors’ Creativity”. Dozens of survivors attended the opening with their families.

The first exhibition of its kind, “Virtues of Memory” showcases the creative works of close to 300 Holocaust survivors whose artistic expressions of their Holocaust experiences and memories are housed at Yad Vashem. Over the past 65 years, an incredible corpus of work has been amassed at Yad Vashem, offering a look at the myriad ways Holocaust survivors have struggled to express themselves artistically after the Holocaust. Joining memoirs, testimonies and film, these artworks form a formidable expression of the Voice of the Survivors. Never before has this tremendous body of work undergone comprehensive research nor has it been presented in such a wide-ranging exhibition. This exceptional exhibition showcases the artistic expression of the individual, yet bestows a legacy to others. The artwork of prestigious artists like Samuel Bak, Yehuda Bacon, Moshe Kupferman, Shemuel Katz, Marcel Janco, Paul Kor and Friedel Stern is displayed alongside hundreds of pieces of art by lesser-known, and even amateur, artists, some of whom are displaying their work in public for the very first time. Despite the individuality represented in each work, the exhibition is divided thematically and visually, grouping together recurrent themes and modes of expression.

Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev said to the artists:

“This is your way of documenting and questioning, of processing and contemplating, of communicating with the world. This is a path which totally screams from within and is pure pain, and above all we see that it is an endeavor that screams the truth."

Yehudit Shendar, Deputy Director of the Museums Division at Yad Vashem and curator of the exhibition notes:

“Art is that most subjective of creative forms, but in the survivors’ art we glimpse a truth that we - being removed from the events- - may not otherwise be able to fathom. Each of the works is the voice of an individual; combined, they present a powerful ensemble, whose commanding expression of truth and memory calls out to us all."

Photos from the opening of the exhibition “Virtues of Memory: Six Decades of Holocaust Survivors’ Creativity”: