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The Arts

Windham World Affairs Council presents multimedia project on Holocaust

BRATTLEBORO—On Friday, March 15, at 118 Elliot at 7:30 p.m., Windham World Affairs Council will present a video/acoustic installation created for the newly constructed Klahr Center, the permanent home of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine on the campus of the University of Maine at Augusta.

Were The House Still Standing: Maine Survivors and Liberators Remember the Holocaust is the creation of Robert Katz, currently a professor of art at the University.

WWAC invited Katz to bring his installation to Brattleboro and to introduce the screening of his innovative project. He will present a talk about family remembrance and the Holocaust.

Katz will describe the journey that inspired him to create the project, which weaves together the testimony of 16 survivors and liberators who rebuilt their lives in the state of Maine.

In his talk, Katz will describe his 40-year search for his family’s legacy. Katz grew up in a religious family in Brooklyn. His grandfather spoke five languages but refused to talk about the past and the life he escaped in coming to America. Upon his death, all he left behind were old envelopes with addresses.

Katz grew up and left Brooklyn and settled on an Indian reservation in Montana. Late one night, on a remote mountaintop, Katz began an extraordinary journey that would alter his life and lead him deep into the darkness of the Holocaust.

In 1989, during the retreat of communism from Eastern Europe, Katz was invited on a scientific expedition into the Carpathian Mountains. Day after day, he would follow a large pack of wolves. During this expedition, he discovered the first evidence of his family’s life in pre-war Poland.

Seven years later, he was able to return and enter their small village along the Polish/Ukrainian border. Finally, he discovered the story that his grandfather could not talk about.

Katz believed that at last he had pieced together a story of family remembrance and of the family’s fate at the hands of the Nazis. Unexpectedly, years after his return, an e-mail brought to life details of his family story that he never expected to discover.

This screening is free and open to the public. There will be coffee, tea, and conversation from 7 p.m., and the presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. More information about this talk and other WWAC events is available at www.windhamworldaffairscouncil.org.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #501 (Wednesday, March 13, 2019). This story appeared on page B3.

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