Presenting a selection of nearly 150 pieces from various sources, this photographic exhibition recreates the history of Salonika (today Thessaloniki) Greece from the second half of the 19th century to the end of the First World War. Men and women are captured in their traditional costumes: modest artisans, porters, traders, members of the local “aristocracy;” society is revealed. Urban modernization is also shown: the quays and the White Tower, cafes, restaurants and entertainment venues; the Countryside sector where the notables established their residence; deprived areas, where emerging industries were established.
But also, in the now Greek city, the great fire of August 1917, an authentic trauma for the Jews who saw their historic neighborhoods, the municipal archives and more than thirty synagogues swept away by the flames, before the geopolitical upheavals caused by the First War worldwide.
In 2020, we were privileged to host an online exhibition of work by the Warsaw-based papercut artist Monika Krajewska. The pieces were drawn from her extraordinary cycle of papercuts called “Burning,” a commemoration of the physical destruction of the Shoah.
This fall, from October 4 to December 18, Krajewska’s Burning cycle will be exhibited at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.
The exhibit consists of 31 works in which the artist refers to the objects related to synagogue cult and transfers them to the traditional Jewish paper-cutting technique, painstakingly recreating the symbolism and ornamentation of Jewish art from East-Central Europe—stylised floral decoration, symbolic representations of animals, a repertoire of traditional sacred Judaic symbols (a menorah, Torah and the Tablets of Law, the Temple) and calligraphic quotations from religious texts and prayers.
In order to introduce reflection on loss and destruction, the artist subjects her painstaking work to destruction: she tears apart sections of the works after cutting them out and burns the ends of the sheets. She uses tinted paper as a background for the cut-outs, incorporating the motif of fire, ashes and ruins. In the representations, she incorporates quotations from religious texts or classics of modern Jewish literature, in which there are references to flames and destruction, as well as to the hope of salvation.
The history of the Jewish ghetto of Florence, which existed in the city between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, is an exhibition organized by the Uffizi Galleries and arranged in the Gallery of Modern Art of Pitti Palace. Curated by Piergabriele Mancuso, Alice S. Legé and Sefy Hendler (The Medici Archive Project), the exhibition can be visited until January 28, 2024.
The ghetto of Florence was established in 1570 by Cosimo I and Carlo Pitti, and was demolished between 1892 and 1895. For almost three centuries the ghetto was the gravity point of Hebraism in Florence.
Subdivided into five sections,the exhibition draws from the extraordinary cultural heritage of Florence as well as from important international loans. It reveals a significant and forgotten chapter of the Medici’s political strategy in a centuries-old context of conflicts, diplomacy and cultural exchanges.
The exhibition starts with the Florence of Cosimo the Elder and Lorenzo the Magnificent; illuminated manuscripts commissioned by Jewish and Medici patrons, which was the result of the interaction between Jewish scribes and Christian artists of the early Tuscan Renaissance; loans from the Jewish Theological Seminary of New York and many Italian libraries. Republican and Medicean imagery intertwine in the depiction of paradigmatic biblical figures, “Jewish heroes” such as Donatello’s bronze David (on loan from the Berlin Museums), or Joseph from the series of tapestries woven in Flanders for Cosimo I. The exhibition places mythical figures alongside real ones, revealing little-known pieces of the history of Florentine Judaism, such as the activity of the explorer Moisè Vita Cafsuto or that of the Jewish painter Jona Ostiglio, whose pantings were all commissioned by the Medici court, together with the self-portrait of Isaia or David Tedesco, a little-known author who was probably a pupil of Ostiglio in the first ever art workshop inside an Italian ghetto.
A place of segregation, but also the fulcrum of an important human, cultural and spiritual microcosm, the ghetto of Florence is also reconstructed through a three-dimensional model, the result of a decade of research conducted by the Eugene Grant Jewish History Program of The Medici Archive Project.
Caring about the multiplicity of audiences and the need to break down prejudices and stereotypes, the exhibition investigates the way in which the history of the Grand Duchy is intertwined with that of the Jewish minority, finally shedding light on the events of an important and so far little known chapter of the Renaissance Florence.
On December 11-12, the Liberation Route Europe Foundation is organizing a memory project conference titled “When Memory Meets Dialogue – Role of Remembrance Sites and Contemporary Challenges” in Krakow, Poland. This event, in partnership with Oscar Schindler’s Enamel Factory, a branch of the Museum of Krakow, is part of the EU-funded European Days of Jewish Culture (EDJC) 2023, coordinated by the AEPJ.
The conference agenda encompasses sessions focusing on Jewish and WWII heritage. Discussions will revolve around memory transmission and the contemporary significance of remembrance sites. The primary goal is to offer a meaningful platform for idea exchange, nurture cross-cultural understanding, and stimulate international discourse on historical memory and contemporary challenges. As part of the programme, participants can also explore guided tours and historical city walks in Krakow.