The Canadian Jeiwsh News

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

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Photos from Lodz Ghetto on exhibit at York U

Tags: Arts

The Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies and the Osgoode Hall Law School at York University are co-hosts of a major new exhibition, The Face of the Ghetto: Pictures by Jewish Photographers from the Lodz Ghetto, 1940 to 1944.

The exhibition features some 50 large-scale photographs taken by photographers in the Lodz (or Litzmannstadt) Ghetto between 1940 and 1944. While the Jews in the ghetto were prohibited from possessing cameras, a few were given cameras and commissioned to document the efficiency of the ghetto factories and other sites of slave labour. At their own initiative and risk, they also took thousands of photographs of Jewish life in the ghetto. 

Unlike photographs taken by Nazis, the photographs in this exhibition were taken by photographers who shared the fate of the people they photographed. The photos reflect a deep empathy with the ghetto inhabitants and reflect their struggle to maintain their dignity and culture in the face of their unspeakably harsh and increasingly helpless situation.

Assembled by the Topography of Terror Foundation in Berlin, the exhibition draws upon nearly 12,000 contact prints held in the Lodz State Archive and includes excerpts from the Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto and statements by former ghetto residents. It was shown at the United Nations in New York in 2012. In conjunction with the exhibition, York has scheduled a series of lectures, films and panels on issues related to Lodz, the Holocaust, and the use of photography and art as a vehicle for testimony and resistance. 

The Face of the Ghetto is on display through Sunday, March 17, in the Library of Osgoode Hall Law School. Princeton historian Jan T. Gross gives a talk at the official opening, Sunday, March 3, 4 p.m. Free admission., 416-736-5823.

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Holocaust Survival Story: The Human Rights Watch Toronto Film Festival and the Toronto Jewish Film Festival present a screening of No Place on Earth. Janet Tobias’ documentary tells the extraordinary story of 38 Ukrainian Jews who survived the World War II by living in caves for 18 months. With guest speakers Tobias and professor Michael Marrus. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W. Sunday, March 3, 3 p.m., 416-599-8433. 

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Recently in Print: The Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto has published The Book of Life – A Decade of Stories, edited by Bonnie Goldstein and Jackie Shulman. The large attractive volume offers a collection of narratives from some 250 people, deemed “legacy holders,” who tell their life stories or philosophies and share their reflections. As part of its philanthropical endeavours the foundation collects about 10 such stories with photographs each year. A wide cross-section of the city’s Jewish community is represented. 416-631-5703.

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Film & Theatre Notes

• Teatron Theatre presents Jacob and Jack, a comedy by James Sherman about an actor and his grandfather who was a legendary actor in the Yiddish theatre. “A dizzying display of life in the theatre in this time-travelling farce.” Toronto Centre for the Arts until March 10.

• Film directors Joel and Ethan Coen are the focus of critic Adam Nayman’s series of Monday evening talks titled The Coen Brothers in Nayman’s Terms. The topic is “Noir: Miller’s Crossing and The Man Who Wasn’t There” on Monday, March 4, 7 to 9 p.m. at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre. $90 for the series, $12 drop-in per class (students $6). 416-924-6211, ext. 606.

• Steppin’ Out Theatrical Productions presents Gypsy, a Stephen Sondheim and Julie Styne musical based on the memoirs of legendary Gypsy Rose Lee. Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, 10268 Yonge St. March 21 to 24. $27 to $32., 905-787-8811.

• Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde, first published at the turn of the last century, was sensationally banned for its frank sexual content. A new stage production adapted by Jason Sherman opens at Soulpepper on March 26.

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Musical Notes

• Composer John Weinzweig would have turned 100 on March 11, 2013, and a year of centenary celebrations begins March 8 to 11 with a weekend of free events at the University of Toronto’s faculty of music.

• Ashkenaz and the Music Gallery present clarinettist Joel Rubin and pianist Uri Caine in a concert described as “klezmer meets jazz.” Music Gallery (St. George the Martyr Church), 197 John St. (south end of Grange Park). Saturday, March 2, 8 p.m. $25 in advance, $30 at the door.

• The Koffler Chamber Orchestra with conductor and soloist Jacques Israelievitch perform a program of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. Gladstone Hotel, Sunday, March 10, 3:30 p.m.

• Nikki Yanofsky is one of the headliners of this year’s TD Toronto Jazz Festival, with a concert at Koerner Hall on Tuesday, June 25. 416-408-0208.

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