THE POSTHUMOUS LANDSCAPE: Jewish Historical Sites in Poland and Western Ukraine
April 28 to September 30, 2019, Yiddish Book Center, 1021 West St., Amherst, MA 01002, U.S.A. The Center is open Sunday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information see the Center’s website: https://www.yiddishbookcenter.org/visit/hours-directions-accommodations
LECTURE: Yiddish Book Center, Sunday, July 21, at 2 p.m. David Kaufman will speak about his exhibition in a talk entitled “Photographing the Posthumous Landscape.”
The landscapes of Poland and western Ukraine offer substantial rewards to the Jewish traveller seeking a connection with what existed before the great catastrophe of the Hitler years. Since the late 1970s and especially since the fall of Communism, Jews of the post-war generations in North America and Israel have been “returning” to Eastern Europe in ever-increasing numbers. For most the quest is to set foot in the ancestral home, to visit family burial sites if they exist, and to uncover family records in provincial archives.
My interest in what remains of Jewish life in Eastern Europe as a photographic subject was sparked by several trips to Poland to make documentary films concerning the Holocaust. On all those occasions I was unexpectedly surprised and deeply moved by both the quality and quantity of Jewish material culture—remnants of Jewish life—that I saw wherever I went. Although the great Jewish communities of Eastern Europe were destroyed by the Nazis, and the survivors persecuted and cast out in the Soviet era, evidence of centuries of Jewish life remains in abundance almost everywhere.
(This exhibition at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, brings together a selection of my photos from previous exhibitions on Jewish historical sites in Poland and western Ukraine.)