MEMORY RECONSTRUCTION: A Sacred Culture Rebuilt
The Memory Reconstruction exhibition at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles chronicles the work of 129 survivors from 14 different countries who were brought together as part of a unique workshop experience in which they produced artistic renditions of their stories. The process of creating these pieces generated pure magic, not just because of their visual beauty, but because of the family bonds that were revitalized, and the promise that future generations will ensure the continuity of the stories.
Jenna Schlesinger, Granddaughter of Eva Schlesinger, Czechoslovakia
"A beautiful, emotional and brilliant night at the opening of The Human Element Project exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance. The installation (top) displays the stories of 129 Holocaust survivors, visually documenting their testimony and memories. It was only a few months ago that I sat with my Bubie (bottom left) as we participated in the project together to chronicle her story and my Zaidah's story (bottom right) of survival. I miss my grandparents everyday but feel blessed to honor their memory through the legacy of this incredible, powerful and stunning exhibit. It was also a great privilege to meet so many other amazing survivors tonight featured in the exhibit."
USC Shoah Foundation is working with the Human Element Project to allow visitors an opportunity to look further into the stories and testimonies of
Holocaust survivors and their families.
This powerful installation uses the rubric of the periodic table to explore an elemental hypothesis: Even in the midst of great physical destruction, the human spirit has the power to transcend. Each of the 129 panels are arranged to reflect the visual structure of the chart. In addition, each survivor’s story is color-coded to identify their country of origin and holds an alphanumeric value represents the initials of the survivor and their age at time of creating this work, mirroring the traditional chemical nomenclature.
Each panel expresses moments of survival, tragedy, and loss. This project moves beyond the generalized platitude of “never forget,” to delve into intensely personal stories—honoring the whole person and their journey-- that are both deeply unique and harmonize together to tell a universal story. Contemporary work on the Holocaust often focuses on the lives lost, yet this work focuses entirely on stories of human triumph. The panels in Memory Reconstruction are filled with personal imagery that is fragmented, haunting, and at times beautiful. Ultimately, these works combine to show lives torn apart and then rebuilt, reconstructed, and pieced back together.
Esther Toporek Finder, Generations of the Shoah International
CONNECTING ART, SCIENCE and the HUMAN EXPERIENCE
© 2016 THE HUMAN ELEMENT PROJECT
Liebe Geft, Director, Museum of Tolerance
"We are sorry to see the exhibit leave. It has been a remarkable journey with you and we are so pleased and proud that the Museum of Tolerance was able to partner with you in this project and host the impressive outcome in the form of such a moving exhibition."
Edith Klar, Survivor Austria
Rolf Gompertz, Survivor Germany
I look forward to seeing you again at the opening reception. I was so thrilled with the outcome of the collaborative effort at the workshop and even more thrilled at your magnificent vision for this. These are living, breathing memorials and moments of truth. B'shalom
"I want to thank you so very much for your very devoted work on this project. I did not know where to begin, and you certainly did a superb job putting it all in perspective with your brilliant talent. I do admire you and your talent and how you just made this into such a brilliant collage. I know how diligently and devotedly you worked. Thank you for helping me and putting it all together."
“Participation in this Project literally forced me to recognize the value of each image as an integral component of a collage – not only the collage which Lori has so brilliantly arranged, but the collage that it represents: My mom’s life, and the lives of all those with whom she experienced both humanity’s darkest side and its most compassionate potential.”
an interactive workshop and exhibition experience with Holocaust Survivors and their families
to learn more about the project and how the exhibit was created
Michael Keller, Son of survivor, Ruth Keller, Austria