Pre-WWII photographers exhibit at New Orleans museum

The National World War II Museum in New Orleans welcomes the exhibit “Lives Remembered: Photographs of a Small Town in Poland 1897-1939”. This is a traveling exhibition by the Holocaust Museum of Houston. This touching exhibition illustrates Jewish life in Europe before the Holocaust through reproductions of more than 100 photographs of the small town of Szczuczyn, Poland.

The photographs capture the ordinary lives of the residents during the years leading up to the Nazi invasion. They were taken by Zalman Kaplan in Szczuczyn, where he established a business as the local photographer. Kaplan’s grandson, Michael Marvins, spent years collecting photographs by his grandfather from the descendants of the families that lived in Szczuczyn.

Marvins collection of reproduced photographs shows the complexity of Jewish life before the war and dispels the common myth that Jews in remote communities in Eastern Europe were unsophisticated. The photos, including many not shown previously, depict humble residents, holiday celebrations, daily life and religious activities.

These were just regular, ordinary people living normal, everyday lives, and they were killed quite simply because of their religion. They were Jewish. What these photos remind us is that, if this could have happened to such ordinary, normal people, it could happen to anyone.

The photographs reveal another side of the small Polish town contrary to the often associated images of Orthodox Jews. They show a rich and diverse way of life that was not so different from our own today. This exhibit puts faces on the millions of men, women and children who perished in the Holocaust, ordinary people leading common lives. The exhibit shows what can happen to everyday people when hate and intolerance are allowed to flourish.

Tragically, Zalman Kaplan was killed by Polish neighbors, during the chaos of the German invasion. These were some of the same neighbors who had probably posed for photos in Kaplans studio.

This glimpse into life before the war shows the people of Szczuczyn as similar to many around the world - enjoying life, advancements in technology and living free of labels or hate. Upon close examination, one must wonder, were their lives so different from our own?

Michael Marvins, grandson of Zalman Kaplan and curator of the exhibition, will give a free public lecture on October 4, 2008 at 7:00 pm. A reception will follow, co-sponsored by Touro Synagogue. For other public programming related to the exhibition, visit www.nationalww2museum.org. Special thanks to the World Cultural Economic Forum for support.

The National World War II Museum will supplement the exhibition with a very special display of Jewish artifacts from Eastern Europe. The exhibition will feature a number of sacred objects presented to Harry Nowalsky, a German immigrant raised in New Orleans, for his service to refugees in the Jewish community. Many of the objects had spent the war buried in the Jewish cemetery to escape theft and vandalism. Nowalsky served as an officer of De-Nazification of trade and industry and was one of the people responsible for returning civil government to post-war Germany.

The exhibit, which is on view from September 25, 2008 through January 11, 2009, is presented by ATT Real Yellow Pages with additional support from the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana, The Lupin Foundation, The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, the Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Service, New Orleans Hillel, and New Orleans Jewish Day School.

The National World War II Museum, dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum, has been designated by Congress as the countrys official National World War II Museum. The Museum illuminates the American experience during the war era and celebrates the American spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who won World War II. For more information on The National World War II Museum, visit www.nationalww2museum.org or call 877-813-3329.

The Lives Remembered programs are in conjunction with Lives Remembered: Photographs of a Small Town in Poland 1897-1939, on view from September 25, 2008 through January 11, 2009. The exhibit is presented by ATT Real Yellow Pages with additional support from the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana, The Lupin Foundation, The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, the Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Service, New Orleans Hillel, and New Orleans Jewish Day School.

For more information call 504-527-6012 x 229. The National WWII Museum is located at 945 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA.

On Sunday, October 12, 2008 from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m., the Panorama Jazz Band will perform. You are invited to kick up your heels to Klezmer music by local favorites, The Panorama Jazz Band. This performance is in conjunction with Lives Remembered: Photographs of a Small Town in Poland 1897-1939. This free program is generously supported by the World Cultural Economic Forum. For more information, call 504-527-6012 x 225.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

10:00 am 12:00 pm

Kids Workshop Photography

The National WWII Museum, 945 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA

At this workshop, participating children will have a guided tour of our special exhibition Lives Remembered. After viewing the photographic exhibition, children will learn the basics of photography and begin taking their own photos to capture their families and the world around them. Appropriate for ages 9-12. To register, call 504-527-6012 x229.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

12:00 pm 2:00 pm

Workshop Photo Preservation

The National WWII Museum, 945 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA

Join our collections staff as they show the techniques to preserve your photos. The special exhibition Lives Remembered is a collection of photographs of a town pre-World War II. All of the photos have traveled through time and across continents. Learn how to preserve your own photographs so that future generations can remember your life as well. For more information call 504-527-6012 x229.

For additional programming at The National World War II Museum, visit www.nationalww2museum.org.

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