Media advisory: U of M to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Auschwitz Liberation
The University of Minnesota’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS), along with campus and community partners, will host a sold-out event entitled Bearing Witness: 70 Years After the Liberation of Auschwitz on Monday, January 26.
“It is important for us to mark this date,” said CHGS director Alejandro Baer, Stephen C. Feinstein Chair in Holocaust and Genocide Studies. “Auschwitz is not only history, but also a reminder of the recurrence of present day genocide and our responsibility to prevent it. The conditions that made Auschwitz possible have not dissipated.”
The event will feature eight portraits of Minnesota Holocaust survivors painted by Spanish artist Felix de la Concha – part of his “Portraits and Conversations with Survivors of the Shoah” multimedia project. (Shoah is Hebrew for holocaust.) Guest speakers include Holocaust survivor Dora Zaidenweber, and children of Holocaust survivors.
“Portraits & Conversations” was conceived by De la Concha in 2007 when he began to paint portraits of Holocaust survivors from all over the world. While posing the survivors talked about their lives and shared their testimonies of survival. These intimate sessions were recorded so we can see the transformation from a blank canvas to a finished piece. The collection features 40 portraits in all.
In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In 2014, over 1.5 million people visited Auschwitz, making it one of the leading sites for tourism in the world, according to Trip Advisor. The sold-out event is a testament to people’s dedication to honor those who suffered and remember those who died in during the Holocaust genocide.
The U’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies is one of the world’s foremost centers of academic research, education and public awareness on the Shoah, other genocides and current forms of mass violence.