Traces of Memory: A Contemporary Look at the Jewish Past in Poland is an ode to the Jewish civilization that was nearly annihilated. The exhibition examines the devastating history of Polish Jews as well as the modern repercussions of the near destruction of Jewish civilization. The exhibition is touring the United States from the Galicia Museum in Kraków, Poland.
Traces of Memory is comprised of the photographs of photojournalist Chris Schwarz and the research and texts of anthropologist Jonathan Webber. The two traveled the Polish countryside in preparation for this project, documenting the visible traces of the history of Polish Jews. Karen Underhill, assistant professor in the Slavic and Baltic Languages and Literature Department, helped to bring the exhibition to UIC. She says of Traces of Memory, “It is inspiring. Seeing the work that the Galicia Museum staff and volunteers are doing, I think about what we can do in our communities – to care for memory, to restore narratives that have been erased, and to engage our young generation in building bridges between communities that have had animosity in the past.”
The opening reception and panel discussion for the exhibition will feature a talk given by Jakub Nowakowski, Galicia Museum director, with welcoming remarks by Paulina Kapuścińska of the Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago, an introduction by Karen Underhill, and comments by Michael H. Traison, founder of the Michael H. Traison Fund for Poland. Underhill says, “I think members of the UIC community will be inspired to believe work of this kind is hugely worthwhile.”
The Traces of Memory reception and discussion will take place on Tuesday, December 3 at 6 pm at the Daley Library, first floor. The exhibition will be on display for the public through January 31, 2014.