In “We Will Never Forget,” viewers will encounter the Holocaust through the eyes of three artists who survived. Max Brenner, Miriam Brysk and Paul E. Yarden use varying mediums - painting, prints and sculptures - to highlight their experiences and remember the victims of the Holocaust. Themes include separation from family, mobile killing squad actions, memorializing the children who perished and survival. Their pieces are influenced by personal experiences and reflect the artist’s interpretation of what they and their families suffered during the Holocaust.
Brenner survived the ghettos and Nazi concentration camps in Poland. As a child imprisoned in the Demblin concentration camp, he began to sketch pictures of liberation and survival. After the war, he trained in drawing and painting, continuing these studies when his family emigrated to the United States. Brenner eventually became a doctor, but continued to paint, saying, “the crimes committed by the Nazis have to be documented… people have to see and to remember.” A selection of three works from his “Holocaust Paintings” series are included in the exhibit. One painting reflects memories of his aunt. “A Mother’s Plight” portrays a young Jewish mother with her son caught by Nazi soldiers trying to escape the burning Warsaw ghetto.
Brysk and her family were partisans during the Holocaust. At the age of eight, she received her own pistol, wearing it proudly at her side. Her family survived and emigrated to the United States, where she earned a doctorate in biological sciences. Inspired by her own experiences and the plight of the 1.5 million Jewish children who perished, her most recent work is titled “Children of the Holocaust,” portraying imagery derived from actual photographs. Each piece is created digitally and printed on a cloth-like canvas to represent a single tallit (Jewish prayer shawl). “The image of each child is contained within his own tallis, the one he never received… a tallis of remembrance from me.” Four of the pieces created for that exhibition are included in this exhibit. One print tells the story of two brothers from Paris who were deported to Auschwitz at the ages of 10 and six years old.
Yarden survived a ghetto and slave labor brigade during the Holocaust. He escaped the labor camp “with luck and courage” and was eventually liberated by the Soviet Army. Upon liberation, he returned to his home on the Czechoslovakian/Hungarian border to learn all his family except for one cousin had been murdered in Auschwitz. He then went to Israel and became a pupil of the sculptor Zeev Ben-Zwi, who taught him to cast plaster and carve stone. Later, he emigrated to the United States, where he pursued marble carving, continued his work as a sculptor and earned a doctorate in psychiatry. This exhibition features three of his sculptures, including, “People of the Yellow Star,” made of limestone, which expresses the helplessness, fear and resignation of a Jewish family before deportation. “It took many years to gather enough mental strength to confront this subject in sculptural expression,” he said.
"We Will Never Forget" is a significant exhibition of works created by these three Holocaust survivors. Each piece is influenced by personal experiences and reflect the artist’s interpretation of what they and their families suffered during the Holocaust. As noted by Brenner, “the hope is that this history is never forgotten."
The public is invited to a special preview reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. Admission is free, but advance registration is required for the reception, which artists Brenner and Yarden will attend. Visit http://www.hmh.org/RegisterEvent.aspx to RSVP online.
This exhibit is presented with special thanks to Avi Tiomkin.
For more information, call 713-942-8000 or e-mail