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Eugen Yanek Yakobovitz was born in 1928 in Slovakia in the city of Mikhailovce. By 1942, when German forces were approaching their home in Slovakia, his father decided to move the family to Bratislava, where they hid with a false identity of Proslavs, using fake certificates.
In 1944, caught by the Gestapo, they were separated from each other (parents, Yank and his brother). Their money was taken from them, they were tortured, and they were forced on a terrible journey to the Oranienburg camp, not far from Berlin. In the concentration camp, he stayed with his father, who was rescued by his knowledge of the German language, until April 1945, when the Germans were cornered by American and Red Army forces. Those who remained in the camp were forced on a long death march, which continued to an unknown destination. One day at dawn, after they had lain awake on the snowy ground, trying to fall asleep huddled together, Yanek, his father, and the rest of the camp heard the sound of Russian and American tanks growling. Yanek survived with his father and sister. His mother and brother were murdered. In 1948, Yanek immigrated to Israel. Yanek passed away in May 2022.
Photo © Shabtai Tal / The Lonka Project, 2019
We are saddened to learn that Shmuel Blumenfeld (far right), one of the four Holocaust survivors who do not know one another but who got together for a photo portrait, where they all display the tattooed numbers on their arms, passed away on the day before Passover, Thursday, April 14, 2022. He was 95.
Four survivors in Tel Aviv. Right to left, Shmuel Blumenfeld was born in Poland in 1926. He survived Poichov, Auschwitz and Theresienstadt. Shmuel was Adolf Eichmann's prison guard in Israel. Yehuda Maimon was born in Poland in 1924. He was a member of the “HaChalutz HaLochem” (The Fighting Pioneer) underground group in Krakow and is a survivor of Auschwitz. Baruch Kasher - 75 years later, he will not share his testimony. The tattooed number indicates he survived Auschwitz. Tommy Schwartz Shacham was born in Slovakia in 1933. In 1944, he was sent to the Auschwitz Birkenau camp where the men, and the boys over 10, were separated from the women. He was left alone in the children's block. In 1945, the Germans took all the children still alive, on a death march from Birkenau to an unknown destination. The Red Army was approaching and during the march the Germans fled. The children continued alone until they arrived at Auschwitz, where they stayed until the liberation. Yehuda Maimon, seen next to Shmuel, passed away i n November 2020.
Photo © Ziv Koren / The Lonka Project, 2019
We are very saddened to announce that Mimi Reinhard Klein, age 107, passed away on April 8, 2022. May her memory be a blessing.
Mimi Reinhard was born in Vienna in 1915. She arrived in Krakow in 1936 after marriage. Her son Sasha was three months old when the war broke out. The German army occupied Krakow within days and Mimi and her husband managed to smuggle their son with his grandmother to Hungary using Aryan documents, a journey they made on foot. Mimi was arrested and her husband was shot and killed at the gate to the ghetto while trying to escape. Like most Jews of Krakow, Mimi was sent to the Plaszow concentration camp in Poland on the way to death camps. Because of her knowledge of German and typing skill, she was assigned to work in the Plaszow camp administrative offices. In 1944 she typed an important version of the manifest of prisoners bound for Oskar Schindler’s munitions factory. By adding her name and the names of two friends to the 1,200 listed Jews, she almost certainly saved her own life and theirs. Schindler was making efforts on behalf of ‘his Jews’ at the factory and, by means of deception and bribery, he saw to better conditions for them. However, when the train left Plaszow for Brinlitz factory, in the autumn of 1944, the Germans sent it to Auschwitz. ‘We were certain that we were done for,’ said Mimi, but Schindler managed to have them released. He saved more than 1,000 Jews, his typist Mimi among them. Gerda Klein passed away on April 7, 2022 at age 107.
Photo © Gideon Markowicz / The Lonka Project, 2019
We are sad to announce the passing of Andor Stern in April 2022, the single remaining Holocaust survivor in Brazil. May hios memory be a blessing.
Andor Stern was born in 1928 in Säo Paolo, Brazil. In 1931, when he was three years old, the Stern family moved from Brazil to India, where Stern’s father worked for a mining company. Six years later, they moved to Hungary, where his grandparents lived. The family went into hiding in Budapest. When Brazil entered World War II and sent troops to fight for the Allies in Italy, Andor, considered a Brazilian Jew, was considered an enemy and sent immediately to forced labor camps. He managed to escape and return to his family. In April 1944, the entire family was placed on a freight train to Auschwitz, where his mother and grandparents were sent to the gas chambers. ‘I saw my mother coming out of the chimney on Oct. 6, 1944.’ Andor was later shipped to numerous forced labor camps. He was liberated in Seeshaupt, Germany, where he and 3,000 other slave laborers riding a freight train to oblivion were freed by the advancing soldiers of Patton’s 3rd Army. ‘I was 17 and weighed 28 kg,’ Andor recalls. He returned to Brazil in 1948 and is the only Brazilian-born survivor of the Holocaust.
Photo © Milton Gevertz / The Lonka Project, 2020
We are very saddened to hear of the passing of Gerda Weissmann Klein as announced on April 6, 2022, by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. May her memory be a blessing.
Gerda Klein was born in 1924, in Bielsko, Poland. Gerda and her brother Arthur grew up relatively unaware of the spread of Nazism, until Poland was invaded in 1939. Gerda and her family watched in disbelief as people, ethnic Germans living in Poland, began flying the Nazi flag and using the Hitler salute. Soon after, Arthur was taken away on a transport and never seen again. In April 1942, Gerda and her parents were ordered into the Bielsko Ghetto. In 1942, Gerda was separated from her father, who was sent to a death camp, where he perished. Gerda was forced to separate from her mother, last seen when they boarded separate convoys to concentration camps. Gerda was sent to the Sosnowitz transit camp in Poland, and then moved from camp to camp. As allied forces advanced in January, 1945, Gerda was forced on a 350-mile death march along with 4,000 other women, including three close friends with whom she had been in the camps, Ilse Kleinzahler, Liesl Steppe, and Suse Kunz. During the death march, Ilse Kleinzahler died in her sleep after telling Gerda that she wouldn't be going further. The death march went through Dresden, Chemnitz, Zwickau, Reichenbach, Plauen, and on through Wallern (now Volary in the modern-day Czech Republic). Gerda was one of fewer than 120 women who survived the exposure to the winter, starvation, and arbitrary executions. Gravely ill in May, 1945, Gerda was liberated by forces of the United States Army. Among them was U.S. Lieutenant Kurt Klein. Kurt was born and raised in Waldorf, Germany. When Hitler ascended to power, Klein's parents sent the 17-year-old Kurt and their other children to safety in the United States. In 1942, his parents were deported to Auschwitz, where they perished. Kurt was drafted that year and served in the U.S. Army as an intelligence officer. In May, 1945, he stumbled upon an abandoned factory in Volary, Czechoslovakia, where about 120 girls were near death. One of the girls guided Lt. Klein to her fellow prisoners, most of whom lay sick and dying on the ground. Gerda was white-haired, weighed 68 pounds, and was one day shy of her 21st birthday. A great love affair began. Gerda and Kurt married in 1946 in Paris before returning to Kurt's home in America. Settling in Scottsdale, Arizona, the couple had three children and eight grandchildren. Gerda was the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary “One Survivor Remembers,” based on her life. The story of Kurt's indefatigable but ultimately unsuccessful efforts to save his parents was chronicled in the award-winning PBS program “America and the Holocaust.” In 2001, Gerda and Kurt received joint doctorates from Chapman University for their collective work fighting racism and intolerance. In 2011, President Barack Obama awarded Gerda Weissmann Klein the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award of the United States.
Photo © Patrick Zachmann / The Lonka Project, 2019
An inspirational story by Max Hirshfeld appears in Blind Magazine online on March 4, 2022 about The Lonka Project. Blind is one of the premier photographic sites and highlights 12 photographs from The Lonka Project collection of portraits of Holocaust survivors. These portraits are shown below in the order of their appearance in the article. Please take some time to read it. It is very well written and insightful.
To read the full story please copy and paste the following URL:
Shaul Ladany born in Belgrade in 1936. Bergen-Belsen. Munich Olympic massacre. Speed walking record holder.
Photo © Tsafrir Abayov (Israel) / The Lonka Project, 2019 Photographed in Omer, Israel
Joseph Alexander was born in 1922 in Kowal, Poland. 12 concentration camps.
Photo © Davis Factor (USA) / The Lonka Project, 2019 Photographed in Los Angeles
Peter Bachrach was born in Bielsko, Poland in 1927, and Esther Lavon in Mikulas, Slovakia in 1926.
Photo © Rina Castelnuovo (Israel) / The Lonka Project, 2021 Photographed in Kfar Saba, Israel
Salomea Genin was born in Berlin in 1932. Fled to Australia and returned to East German totalitarianism.
Photo © Kristian Schuller (Germany)/ The Lonka Project, 2020. Photographed in Berlin.
Nat Shaffir was born in Iasi, Romania, in 1936. 32 family lost in Auschwitz. Marathon runner.
Photo © David Burnett (USA)/ The Lonka Project, 2019. Photographed in Washington DC
Stephen B. Jacobs was born in Łodz, Poland on June 12, 1939. Buchenwald. Architect.
Photo © Max Hirshfeld (USA)/ The Lonka Project, 2019 Photographed in New York City
Ben Ferencz, born in Hungary in 1920, US soldier and young attorney at Nuremberg trials.
Photo © Andy Anderson (USA) / The Lonka Project, 2019 Photographed in Delray Beach, Florida
Lia Hoover and twin sister, Judith Barnea, born in 1937 in Silesia, Transylvania (Hungary). Dr. Mengele.
Photo © Ohad Zwigenberg (Israel) / The Lonka Project, 2019 Photographed in Ra'anana, Israel
Madeleine Kahn was born in 1933 in Paris. Concentration camp in Transnistria. Doctor and author.
Photo © Tomasz Lazar (Poland) / The Lonka Project, 2019 Photographed in Saint-Paul de Vence, France
Harry J. Fransman was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in 1922. Auschwitz. Artist and author.
Photo © D-Mo Zajac (Australia) / The Lonka Project, 2019 Photographed in Sydney, Australia
Mordechai Perlov, born in Lithuania. Rasein shtetl. Deported to Russian gulag.Passed away at age 93.
Photo © Roger Ballen (USA) / The Lonka Project, 2019 Photographed in Johannesburg
Dorothy Bohm born in 1924 in Königsberg, East Prussia. At 14 went to London. Photographer. Traveler.
Photo © Marissa Roth (USA) / The Lonka Project, 2019 Photographed in London
One of the premier photography websites posted on The Lonka Project: Numbered, the current exhibition on in the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow. The exhibition is on until May 15, 2022. Their website is at:
Photographers highlighted from the 60+ Holocaust portraits on view in the exhibition are:
Main photo: Avaigail Uzi (Israel) photographed Arie Tabuch, born in Greece, and an Auschwitz survivor with his granddaughter in Tel Aviv, 2019.
2nd from Left: Avigail Uzi (Israel) photographed Moshe Haelyon, also born in Greece and also a survivor of Auschwitz, in Tel Aviv, 2019.
3rd from left: Ziv Koren (Israel) photographed four Auschwitz survivors, in his Tel Aviv studio, 2019.
4th from Left: Atef Safadi (Israel) photographed Hanoch Shacher, born in Czechoslovakia, in Safed, Israel, 2019.
5th from Left: Marian Gruzdeva (Russia) photographed Ida Spektor, born today's Ukraine, and a survivor of the Pechora concentration camp, in Moscow in 2021.
6th from Left: Marian Gruzdeva (Russia) hands and feet of Ida Apektor, photographed in Moscow, 2021.
7th from Left: Jillian Edelstein (United Kingdom) photographed John Haidu, born in Budapest, taken into hiding, in 2020 in London.
Last from Left: Rustam Bayramov (Israel) photographed Margot Pins, born in Poland who was able to flee to the Philippines before Kristallnacht and then suffered under the Japanese, using the Collodian view camera process in Rimonim, West Bank, 2019.
A clipping from a Moscow website shows the opening of the exhibition, "The Lonka Project: Numbered" in the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, on February 17, 2022. Over 60 photographs of Holocaust survivors from The Lonka Project collection are on show until May 15, 2022. The exhibition was curated by Liya Chechik - Museum curator with Nina Gomiashvili, an independent curator and Anna-Patricia Kahn, of Clair by Kahn Gallery in Zurich. Special thanks go out to Irina Pozhidaeva, the project manager.
Some of the portraits show in the exhibition displays, left page, are by Jim Hollander (USA), Yuval Chen (Israel), Davis Factor (USA).
Left side, top: Anna Shmitko (Russia), Armin Smailovic (German, Bosnia),
Middle row: Mauricio Candela (USA), shabtai Tal (Israel), Rina Castelnuovo (Israel), Jim Hollander (USA), Debra Friedman (Canada)
Botom Row: Olga Izakson (Russia), Odd Andersen (Norway), David Turnley (USA, France), Yossi Zeliger (Israel)
All photos © photographer / The Lonka Project, 2019
A clipping from a Moscow website shows some of the photographs of Holocaust survivors in "The Lonka Project: Numbered" exhibition in the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, which opened on February 17, 2022.
At left, top:
Leon Malmed made by American photographer Robert Gumpert in California in 2019.
Rabbi Israel Meir Lau now and when he was liberated by U.S. soldiers from the Buchenwald concentration camp. Photographed by Jim Hollander, 2019.
Left page, top:
Four Auschwitz survivors photographed by Israeli photographer Ziv Koren in his Tel Aviv studio, 2019.
All photos © photographer / The Lonka Project, 2019
A clip from AD showing some of the photographs of Holocaust survivors presented in "The Lonka Project: Numbered" exhibition in the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, February 17, 2022.
*Moshe Haelyon portrait made by Israeli photographer Avigail Uzi in her Tel Aviv studio in 2019.
At right, top to bottom:
* Leon Malmed made by American photographer Robert Gumpert in California in 2019.
* Francisco Wichter and his wife Hinda hold hands in Buenos Aires in 2019. Portrait by Argentine photographer Magali Druscovich.
* Ruby Sosnowicz of the Holocaust Survivor Band plays during his portrait session in Florida. Photograph by American Mauricio Candela.
All photos © photographer / The Lonka Project, 2019
A clipping from the opening of The Lonka Project: Numbered held in the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, February 17, 2022.
The image by Israeli photographer Avigail Uzi shows Holocaust survivor Moshe Haelyon, who survived the Auschwitz extermination and death camp. Made in her Tel Aviv studio in 2019.
Photo © Avigail Uzi / The Lonka Project, 2019
A clipping from the opening of The Lonka Project: Numbered exhibition in the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, February 17, 2022.
This portrait by American photographer Robert Gumpert shows Holocaust survivor Leon Malmed holding portraits of his two sets of parents - his birth parents and the parents who hid him during WWII. Made in South Lake Tahoe, California, USA in 2019.
Photo©️Robert Gumpert/ The Lonka Project, 2019
We are saddened to announce we just learned of the passing of David Marks, age 93, from his wife Kathy. She wrote in her local paper, "Marks woke up every morning as if it was his birthday...with gratitude on his heart every day." Kathy added, “He loved democracy and he was very concerned about antisemitism and some of the things going on that are a threat to democracy. He knew a threat to democracy can be the end of freedom.” My his memory be a blessing.
David Marks is 91-years-old and was born in 1928 in Szilágysomlyó, in the area of Transylvania that was annexed to Hungary in 1940. He was 16 when he was crammed into a cattle car with thousands of others and brought to Auschwitz, the largest of the Nazi death and extermination camps. Thirty-five members of his immediate and extended family of Romanian Jews were killed in Auschwitz, including his father and brother on the day he arrived. David, on that same day, was selected for work. ‘That same day, 35 members of my family were burned or cremated the same day, that Friday.’ He returned to Auschwitz for the first time in January 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Russian army, and also recounted there his story for the first time. ‘I didn't talk about it with my children,’ he said. ‘I didn't want they should know what I went through.’ He added, ‘I would love Hitler should be alive to see what I accomplished - that I'm alive.’ He still works every day in his woodworking shop. His sons now run the fine furniture and cabinetmaking business he founded in Brooklyn, NY. In 2020 David returned to visit the Auschwitz extermination and death camp for the first time since the war ended, marking the 75th year of its liberation by the Red Army. David Marks passed away on February 8, 2022, at the age of 93.
Photo © Howard Schatz / The Lonka Project, 2019 in David's home workshop in Sherman, Connecticut, USA.
We are saddened to announce the passing of Jacob Blankitny (Right) was born in 1926 in Maków Mazowiecki, Poland. Jacob passed away on February 14th his birthday, at the age of 96. He died from complications due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Two days into (the) Nazi invasion to Poland, the Nazis were in my hometown, using the synagogue as a stable, destroying Jewish symbols and demanding that Jews be identified by a Star of David with the inscription, "Jew." After two weeks, we started moving via peasant cart to the Mlawa Ghetto,finding the place empty when we arrived because the previous inhabitants had all been transferred to Auschwitz. There was a train station in which we stayed for 10 days and worked on construction projects until transfer. First, the elderly and women with small children were transported to Treblinka. Our transfer to Auschwitz began and I will never forget when my mother gave the German Nazi soldiers her favors in exchange for half a glass of water. When we arrived at our tragic fate, I was only 16 years old. Even today, my ears echo the painful cries of people there. We were separated by women and men. Women were sent directly to the gas chambers, later to the crematoria - my mother and sister were among them. My father and I stayed united. Amid a whirlwind of Nazi police with packs of dogs, we crossed to my uncle in another line that took us to Auschwitz-Birkenau. The crematoria smoke could be seen for kilometers around, there were approximately 6,000 people in our transport, 200 people were left to enter Auschwitz. We were tattooed with numbers on our arms, it was winter and the cold burned us; all the camp was flooded and muddy. Dressed in striped pajamas we were placed in different barracks, with three-story bunks, twelve humans per bunk. We worked outside the camp until seven o'clock at night. Each evening we returned with four or five cadavers of our friends, who were taken directly to the crematoria. I was forced to say goodbye to my father and he said these last words to me: “I will not see you anymore. It may be that you are able to save yourself. Though I am abandoning you, you have an obligation to go and save yourself.” I never saw him again. I was moved about 5 kilometers away, to Auschwitz 1, where there was a woodworking shop. I was diverted to work on the railroad. I saw my feet freeze and chunks of flesh and skin fall from my fingers. I was left to recover for three days when (Nazi doctor) Josef Mengele arrived for an inspection; dividing some of the sick to the left and some to the right. I was lucky, as most were sent to death. Since I worked the saw well enough, I could stay working there until 1945; this was my salvation. On January 18, 1945, the Russians began to close in on Auschwitz, and the Germans made us walk about 90 km to the Leslau Station. Many were killed on the road. Upon reaching the station, we were forced into open wagons bound for Mauthausen. Half the people traveling in these railcars died freezing. We were transported to Melk, where we worked in mines for the munitions factories until March 1945 when we were clandestinely informed that the Americans were closing in on us. For this reason, the Germans decided to move us to Upper Austria, into a camp called Ebensee. We were taken to the camp and lined up to be shot. At that time, a German commander approached and said, "It's not worth killing these people; they are not even worth the bullet. No matter - they will die in the camp.” We ate one meal a day and it consisted of a soup with potato peels; scraps of food from the S.S. Every day we watched as between 400 to 500 prisoners died in the camp. On May 4, 1945, the Americans were very close, there were about 10,000 people left in the camp. People rose up and decided not to comply, so the S.S., rushed for time and trying to escape, decided to lock the camp with the prisoners inside and they, themselves, left. Finally, the next morning, American soldiers and tanks arrived and liberated us. Of all the people in my city, Maków Mazowiecki, where 4,000 Jews originally lived before the start of World War II, only 42 survived. Of all my family in Poland, I was the only survivor.’
At left is Shlomo Reichik, born in 1924 in Maków Mazowiecki, Poland. Also a survivor of the Auschwitz extermination and death camp. They both share Noga (right) as a great-granddaughter, who plays alongside them during the photo session in Netanya, Israel.
Photo © Yehoshua Yosef / The Lonka Project, 2021
We are sad to announce the passing of Naomi Perlman who was severely injured last March 2021, when her home in the southern Israeli coastal town of Ashkelon was hit by a missile fired from the Gaza Strip. Her caregiver was killed in the attack. May their memories be a blessing.
Naomi Perlman was born in Sosnowiec, Poland, in 1932. On September 4th, 1939, Nazi Germany occupied Sosnowiec, the Great Synagogue was burned, and soon after Jews were rounded up to forced labor. Street executions began. When Naomi’s family were evicted from their home, they took their only child on a horse-drawn cart and fled eastward from Nazi Germany troops sweeping across the Polish landscape. They crossed rivers on makeshift wooden rafts and Naomi helplessly watched their beloved horse slipping from a rickety raft into the river, drowning in front of her eyes. They continued fleeing on foot, traversing combat zones under shelling, starvation, and freezing weather. Naomi fell ill with typhoid and her father was detained by the Soviets in a detention or labor camp near Chernobyl. Eventually released, they reached Uzbekistan, where they found refuge. Naomi became a peddler on the Tashkent streets. She didn’t mind. For her, this was paradise. After the war, they returned to Sosnowiec and learned that most of their family perished. Encountering hostility, their home occupied by strangers, they immigrated to Israel in 1951. Upon arrival, they were sent to the town of Majdal, whose Palestinian residents were forced to abandon in the 1948 war and fled to the Gaza strip. Naomi married Yankale, a Polish Jew who fled from the Nazis and lost family in death camps. They built their home and created a family in the town, now renamed Ashkelon. For the past twenty years, Ashkelon has become a frequent target for Gaza rocket fire. Yankale passed away but Naomi remained in her home. On March 11, 2021, a rocket fired from Gaza, crashed through Naomi's roof. A neighbor, Avi Franco, ran inside and pulled Naomi out from the rubble. Both her legs were torn from her body by the force of the explosion, and she was covered in shrapnel. Her caregiver, Soumya Santosh did not survive the devastating impact. Naomi’s injuries are healing, but the trauma transported her back to her childhood home. A spark of hope appeared for her family when Naomi murmured in Yiddish to a nurse, ‘I have no legs; a bomb fell on me.’
Photo © Rina Castelnuovo / The Lonka Project, 2021
Here is a link to the recording of the Zoom talk on Holocaust Education presented by TOLI on January 26, 2022, commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day. I'm told there were about 1,200 people who signed up for the discussion on The Lonka Project photographer's project and how we and our photos can help to promote tolerance and educate against antisemitism and ethnic hatred. Thank you all. Those who signed up for the Zoom should have received this link to view the recording. You might have to cut and paste this as not able to do a direct click / link. https://vimeo.com/671248221
We are very proud to announce an exhibition of The Lonka Project, which will open in Moscow at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, February 17, 2022. Here is a (Google, thanks) translation of an announcement made in a Russian culture website. This exhibition was postponed for one year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It will run for three months until May 15, 2022.
The history of the Lonka project began in 2018. It was founded by photographers Rina Castelnuovo and Jim Hollander in memory of Rina's mother, Eleanor Nass, who went through the Shoah. “I grew up in a house of silence,” notes Rina. “I knew what the barracks were and who the Nazis were, but when my mother died overnight, the responsibility for the past passed to us.” Reporters turned to professional photographers to create portraits of Holocaust survivors and record their memories.
Thus, about 300 photographers from 30 countries took part in The Lonka Project: Magnum agency members Alec Soth, Gilles Peress and Eli Reed, World Press Photo laureates Ed Kashi and Jane Evelyn Atwood, as well as many other professionals. Their pictures show Anita Lasker-Walfisch, a cellist who played in the women's orchestra in Auschwitz; British street photographer Dorothy Bohm; Liliana Segre, Italian senator for life; champion weightlifter Sir Ben Helfgott and Oscar-winning film director Claude Lelouch.
The curators of the exhibition at the Jewish Museum are Anna-Patricia Kahn, director of the CLAIRbyKahn gallery in Zurich and member of the Lonka project, Nina Gomiashvili, curator of photographic projects, and Liya Chechik, curator of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center. They selected more than 60 photographs from the international project for the exposition in Moscow. “We are the last generation that has an exceptional opportunity to cross the views of eras and hear the personal memories of people who survived the Holocaust,” said the curators.
The Jewish Museum acted as a partner of the global project and invited Russian photographers to participate in it. Yegor Zaika, Olga Isakson, Maria Gruzdeva and Anna Shmitko created portraits of Russians who went through the Shoah.
Photo © Robert Gumpert / The Lonka Project, 2019
Photographed Leon Malmed with his two families; his biological parents and the parents in France who hid him and saved his life during the Holocaust, "Papa Henri and Maman Suzanne" Ribouleau were honored as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 1977. Photographed in South Lake Tahoe, California, USA.
It is very sad to announce the passing of Raphaël Esrail in late January 2022, just before the commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. He was 97. May his memory be a blessing.
Raphaël Esrail was born in Turkey in 1925, to a Jewish family who emigrated to France when he was nine months old. They settled in Lyon. The first anti-Semitic laws came into effect in 1940. It spurred him to join the Resistance, the underground network of fighters against the Nazis. He was tasked with making forged work permits and travel documents for Jews until he was arrested by the Vichy French authorities on January 8, 1944. For several days he was tortured before being placed on the dank train car that would haul him to Auschwitz death camp in convoy 67 on February 3, 1944. He survived 11 months. On January 18, 1945, he was forced by the SS on a death march from which he tried in vain to escape. Evacuating the camps just days before liberation, the Nazis pushed tens of thousands of weakened prisoners into long treks toward distant trains bound for other facilities from the approaching allied forces. On hard ice, the prisoners marched, many of them barefoot. 'Their feet would freeze, and they would fall to their knees,' Raphaël said. 'When they fell, a Nazi soldier would stick a gun to their heads and pull the trigger. I could only think of my mother, think that I would never see her again, that I would die before reaching the age of 20.’ Raphel survived the march and arrived at Dachau concentration camp, and then transferred to a sub-camp, Ampfing Waldlager. On April 25, 1945, the camp was evacuated. Raphaël was liberated by American soldiers near the village of Tutzing on May 1, 1945. He returned to Lyon and learned that all his family perished. Raphael became a successful engineer at Gas France. He did not share his wartime memories with his family until the1980s when he decided to devote his life to Holocaust commemoration and education in France. Raphaël has been President of the Auschwitz Survivors Union in France since 2008 and is the recipient of Legion D'Honor and holder of the Merit Cross by Germany. In 2017, he published his testimony. He passed away just before International Holocaust Remembrance Day in late January 2022.
Photographed in Pairs by Photo©️Daniella Zalcman / The Lonka Project,2019
Invitation to join us in a video Zoom conference on The Lonka Project to be held on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 26, 2022.
3 PM EST, 10 PM Israel, 9 PM Europe.
We will be discussing photography and the photographic portrait in Holocaust education.
Please go to this link to sign-up for the one-hour video Zoom conference:
Portrait of Anita Lasker-Wallfisch made by Israeli photographer Omer Messinger in Berlin in September 2019 as she waits to receive the German National Prize for her campaigning against anti-Semitism in September 2019. This unique portrait is part of The Lonka Project collection. Anita is one of the Holocaust survivors whose painted portraits will be part of an exhibition marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is due to be unveiled at Buckingham Palace on January 27, 2022. Prince Charles has commissioned seven artists in the UK to make the portraits of Holocaust survivors including Peter Kuhfeld who did the portrait of 96-year-old Wallfisch who played cello in the Auschwitz orchestra and also survived the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. There is a televised show on the Holocaust survivors' portraits made by the BBC, which is due to air on January 27, 2022. It is called Survivors - Portraits of the Holocaust.
Cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch was born in Breslau in 1925. The youngest of three sisters, Anita grew up in a home filled with chamber music. She studied cello with Leo Rostal in Berlin, returning to her family in Breslau after Kristallnacht in 1938. Anita’s family tried to emigrate from Nazi Germany, but to no avail. Their home was sealed by the Gestapo, and the family was separated. ‘The war broke out and we were finally trapped. My parents were deported and sent on a transport to the East, to Isbiza near Lublin ... I never saw them again. I was 16 years old. I involved myself in clandestine activities - forged papers for French prisoners of war to escape with. I tried to escape myself with forged papers.’ Anita was caught, imprisoned, and sent to Auschwitz - Birkenau in 1943. As a convict, she was saved from “selection,” where SS guards chose who should live and who should die in the gas chamber. Anita joined the camp orchestra as the cellist. ‘I survived nearly one year in Auschwitz ... our task consisted of playing morning and evening at the gate of the camp so that the outgoing and incoming work commandos would march neatly in step to the marches we played. We also had to be available at all times to play to individual SS staff, who would come into our Block and wanted to hear some music after sending thousands of people to their death. Although we were somewhat privileged, we had no illusions, that we would end up in the gas chamber.’ In 1944 she was transferred to the Bergen-Belsen camp. ‘There are no words to describe this inferno. The dead bodies piling up, no food, no water - nothing. It was clear that we had come to the end of the line. It was about 5 pm on April 15,1945 ... the first British tank rolled into the camp. We were liberated! No one who was in Belsen will ever forget that day.’ Anita and her sister Renate survived. Their parents were killed by the Nazis in 1942. In 1946 Anita was finally allowed into England. She studied at the Guildhall School of Music, married the pianist Peter Wallfisch and had two children. She co-founded the English Chamber Orchestra. In 1996, Anita broke her silence and published her memoirs, Inherit the Truth. Anita is a Member of the Order of the British Empire. In 2019 Anita was awarded the German National Prize for her campaigning against anti-Semitism.
We are saddened to hear of the passing of Yaacov Holzman at age 85 in mid-January 2022. May his memory be a blessing.
Yaacov Holzman was born in Poltusk, Poland, in 1937. On the eve of the war, his father was drafted into the Polish army and did not return. Poltusk was occupied by Nazi Germany on September 7, 1939, and racial and anti-Semitic decrees were imposed on the town’s Jewish population including a ban on walking on sidewalks, foreclosure of bank accounts and an obligation to pay ransom. Many were rounded up for forced labor. On September 11, the Nazis murdered dozen of Jews and deported about 300 families to the east, including two-year-old Yaacov, his mother and two siblings. Under shelling, hunger and in a terrible cold, the mother and her children crossed the border into Russia where they were detained and exiled by train to a forced labor camp in Siberia. In June 1941 they were released from the concentration camp and the mother decided they will start walking to Uzbekistan. After wandering for weeks, they came to Samarkand where they remained until the end of the war. In 1945, after several attempts, they managed to return to Poland, but refrained from returning to their town Poltusk after being warned of pogroms against returning Jews. Their mother met up with Israeli emissaries who were assigned to bring war orphans to Mandatory Palestine. Due to the restrictions, the children were separated and 10-year-old Yaacov boarded alone the ship “Alexandria” and arrived to Haifa port. He later learned that his father had been murdered in Treblinka. Yaacov rebuilt his life in Israel. He is the recipient of the prestigious "Kaplan" award for his contribution to the development of military equipment and for his contribution to Israel’s defense. Yaacov Holzman passed away in mid-January 2022.
Photo © Chen Shuval / The Lonka Project, 2021 Photographed in Holon, Israel
We are saddened to announce the passing of David Sarid, age 93.
David Sarid was born in Czechoslovakia (Hungary) in 1928. On his Bar-Mitzva in 1941, David, one of 10 siblings in a Haredi family, was sent by his father to a Yeshiva (religious Jewish studies) and it was the last time he saw his family. With Nazi German occupation, his family was deported to camps and when the Jewish schools were ordered closed, David found himself alone, homeless, begging for food, and surviving on handouts until he was caught in,1944 and sent to Auschwitz in a “transport” of Jews, Roma, and Sinti. He survived Mengele's selection and was sent to forced labor at the Mauthausen concentration camp where he was imprisoned until December 1944. The area was bombed by the allies. David and most of the Jewish prisoners were forced on a death march to Gunskirchen camp. On May 4, 1945, the Nazi guards in the camp vanished and David was liberated by the 71st Infantry Division of the US Army. David returned to Czechoslovakia after liberation and learned from his only surviving brother that their family perished. He was taken to an orphanage and later to a DP camp in Germany where he completed his studies and became a teacher for The Joint in Norway, preparing survivors for immigration to Israel. In 1950, he immigrated to Israel with his wife. David served in the IDF and completed his MA in Jewish history. David became a beloved headmaster to generations of high school students in Tiberias. David Sarid passed away in late December 2021, age 93.
Photo © Gil Eliayahu / The Lonka Project, 2020 Photographed in Tiberias, Istaelo Atef Safadi / The Lonka Project, 20
We are saddened to hear of the passing of Stephen B. Jacobs in December 2021. He was 82.
Stephen B. Jacobs was born in Łodz, Poland on June 12, 1939. The family moved to Piotrków and in 1944 was separated – the men taken to Buchenwald and the women to Ravensbrück camps. Stephen has memories of life in the Buchenwald concentration camp. ‘In my case, you didn’t eat in Buchenwald unless you worked. So, I was given an identity card that said I was 16 years old,’ he told Newsweek magazine in 2018. ‘I was five.’ He worked in a shoe factory. Those not able to work were sent to their deaths. Stephen credits the camp’s underground resistance to staying alive. The Buchenwald camp was started before the war to hold prisoners such as communists. He believes the prisoners organized and protected one another by arranging counterfeit paperwork and hiding the children. He was hidden several times in the camp, once in a tuberculosis ward where his father worked as an orderly, and where German soldiers did not like to patrol. He remembers being liberated by the U.S. Third Army amid an uprising within the camp. The family reunited after the war and fled to Switzerland and then to the U.S. in 1948. Stephen pursued his interest in art but turned to architecture after admitting he ‘was a lousy painter.’ He enrolled in Pratt Institute and completed a Master’s in Architecture in 1965. He became renowned for “sensitive renovation” projects and Adaptive Reuse of old industrial and manufacturing properties and designed some of New York City’s earliest boutique hotels. He designed the Holocaust memorial at Buchenwald, for which he received no payment for his work. It was announced Stephen B. Jacobs passed away on December 14, 2021.
Photo © Max Hirshfeld / The Lonka Project, 2019 Photographed in Manhattan, NY. USA
We are saddened to announce the passing of Ernst Verduin in mid-December 2021. He was 94.
Ernst Verduin was born in 1927 in Amsterdam to a non-religious Jewish family. In 1942, the family was forced to move to one of the ghettos in Amsterdam. The Verduin family went into hiding, but was arrested and brought to Camp Vught. Ernst was 15. In September, 1943, he and his sister Wanda were deported with a group via Westerbork to Auschwitz. He was sent to the gas chamber. Ernst had been informed about the gas chambers by an SS man. He begged an SS man in Auschwitz-Birkenau for his life. The SS did not allow this, and sent him back to the gas chamber group. Ernst made a choice and walked over to the group of men who had to work. He ended up in Monowitz, the labor camp of Auschwitz. When the Russians arrived in Auschwitz in January, 1945, Ernst was forced on a 40-to-60-kilometer-long march to Gleiwitz. Then he traveled by train to Buchenwald. In early April, 1945, he was taken to Buchenwald concentration camp and claimed, as an uncircumcised person, not to be a Jew. He was sent to the Dutch barracks rather than to a certain death. Three days later, on April 11, 1945, Buchenwald was liberated by the U.S. Army. In May, 1945, Ernst Verduin returned to the Netherlands. He was miraculously reunited with his mother, receiving the news on his 18th birthday. She had survived concentration camps in Poland and Germany. They were reunited in August, 1945. Ernst's sister and father both died in concentration camps in the East. How his father died is unknown. His sister Wanda was experimentally infected with typhus and died of it. Ernst regularly gives guest lectures at secondary schools, universities and other places to tell young people that the lessons of history should never be forgotten.
Photo © Etienne Werner / The Lonka Project, 2019 Photographed in Ochten, The Nethlernads.
The Lonka Project eight-month exhibition in Safra Square in central Jerusalem comes to a close and is dismantled on December 8, 2021. It opened on April 8, 2021, Israel Holocaust Remembrance Day, and was extended four times. The municipal square in Jerusalem now looks quite different now... many heartfelt thanks to many people involved in bringing this exhibition to the public during the difficult times of the Covidf-19 pandemic. It was a ground breaking show, as artwork had never been shown on the walls of the square before and believe now it will be a permanent fixture in Jerusalem's art scene.
Below is Greg Williams' portrait of Sir Ben Helfgott, born in Poland in 1929 and a survivor of Treblinka and Theresienstadt, who went on to become an Olympic weightlifting champion. He was photographed in his London home in 2019.
THE LONKA PROJECT Exhibition currently in Safra Square, central Jerusalem, has been extended again and will now be on view until after Hanukkah ends - after December 6th.
It is a free, outdoor exhibition held under Covid-19-friendly, safe-distance conditions.
We are extremely pleased to announce, also, the extension of The Lonka Project collection on exhibition in the Ghetto Fighters' House Museum, Beit Lohamei HaGeta'ot, in northern Israel just past Acre. We have just heard that the exhibition has been extended until the summer of 2022 - that would make it a one-year exhibit. It is uniquely designed exhibit by Ohad Benit and curated by Ya'ara Raz Hakla.
There are 48 portraits on view.
Hall where color portraits of Holocaust survivors are displayed on tall hanging white photo paper. Very effective & powerful.
From L to R portraits by: Tom Vack in Milan, Davis Factor in Los Angeles, Lori Adamski-Peek in San Rafael, California, Axel martens in Berlin, Vardi Kahana in Tel Aviv, Greg Williams in London,Louise Kennerley in Sydney and Nadav Neuhaus in Beersheva, Israel.
Above - Portrait of Holocaust survivor Paulette Angel by Paolo Pellegrin made in Geneva, Switzerland. Displays of Black & White portraits in the middle of a hall with reflective panes added to give depth. Color portraits are displayed along the outer walls on large, hanging white photo paper panels.
Very thankful for the Facebook pictures made by Reut Cohen as she visited The Lonka Project exhibition in Plac Solny in the Old city of Wroław, Poland on November 16, 2021. The exhibition is free of charge and outdoors so Covid-19 safe. The are 20 portraits from The Lonka Project on view in this show with captions in both English and Polish. Most of the Holocaust survivors included were born in Poland. The exhibit was curated by Grzegorz Litynski. With special thanks to Katarzyna Taczyńska, Vice-chair of the Polish Commission of Balkan Culture and History.
At left, top, L to R:
Leon Weintraub photographed by Jonathan Nackstrand in Stockholm.
Solomon Sally Perl photographed by Odd Andersen in Leipzig, Germany.
At left, bottom, L to R:
Rachel Gera photographed by Heidi Levine in Jaffa, Israel.
Jakub Weksler photographed by Jim Hollander in Jerusalem.
At right, top, L to R:
Four Auschwitz Survivors photographed by Rina Castelnuovo in Hod Hasharon.
Claude Lelouche photographed by Shaul Dishy in Haifa, Israel.
At right, bottom, L to R:
Anita Lasker-Wallfisch photographed by Omer Messinger in Berlin.
Madeleine Kahn photographed by Tomasz Lazar in Saint-Paul de Vence, France.
A few photos provided by Katarzyna Taczyńska, Vice-chair of the Polish Commission of Balkan Culture and History shows the official opening of The Lonks Project outdoor exhibition in Plac Solny in the Old City of Wrocław, Poland on November 7, 2021. The Mayor of Wrocław, Jacek Sutryk, center right, spoke at the event.
At left is Holocaust survivor Maryla Krasnowska next to her portrait made by Polish photographer Grzegorz Litynski.
Photos © Katarzyna Taczyńska,2021
The Lonka Project exhibition in central Plac Solny in the Old City of Wrocław, Poland is on view. There are some 20 portraits of Holocaust survivors that are part of The Lonka Project, most all of them born in Poland. The exhibition, which will be outdoors in the square until the end of November and then move into indoor quarters was made possible with the hard and dedicated work by photographer/curator Grzegorz Litynski, with special thanks and appreciation to Marek Mielczarek, director of the Bente Kahan Foundation (BKF). We expect more photos when the exhibit officially opens in the next week.
Seen at left, front: Grzegorz Lityński portrait of Marla Krasnowska & Sam Ponzcak.
Behnd that: Rina Castelnuovo portrait of BatSheva Dagan.
In center: Rina Castelnuovo portrait of Four Israeli Pilots.
Behidn that Shaul Dishi portrait of Claude Lelouch.
The Lonka Project is sad to announce the passing of two Holocaust survivors who graciously participated in the project. We thank them.
May their memory be a blessing.
Eddie Jaku was born in Leipzig, Germany in 1920. Eddie’s life had changed on Kristallnacht when Eddie returned home from boarding school to an empty house. At dawn Nazi soldiers burst in, Eddie was beaten and taken to Buchenwald concentration camp. Eddie was later released and escaped with his father to Belgium and France, but again he was captured and on route, Eddie managed to escape and make his way back to Belgium where he lived in hiding with his parents and sister. In October 1943 Eddie’s family was arrested and deported to Auschwitz death camp where his parents were murdered. In 1945, Eddie was sent on a death march but once again escaped and hid in a forest until June 1945 when he was rescued by Allied soldiers. In 1950 he moved to Australia where he rebuilt his life., and was one of the founders of the Sydney Jewish Museum. In 2020 Eddie celebrated his 100th birthday as self-proclaimed to be ‘the happiest man on earth’ who made a vow to himself to smile every day. His best-selling memoir “The Happiest Man on Earth was published in 2020. Using past trauma to spread a hopeful message, Eddie devotes himself to Holocaust education, ‘I teach children and adults not to hate.’ Eddie Jaku passed away in Sydney in October 2021, age 101.
Photo © Louise Kennerley / The Lonka Project, 2020
Holocaust survivors Eugene and Margie Beko in their apartment in Jerusalem, September 22, 2019. Both were liberated from concentration camps, married soon afterward, and went as displaced persons to the United States. They lived in New York City until three years ago when they made aliyah to Israel. Eugene passed away in September 2021.
Photo © Ronen Zvulun / The Lonka Project, 2019
The Lonka Project is sad to announce the passing of two Holocaust survivors who graciously participated in the project.
We thank them.
May their memory be a blessing.
Inge Ginsberg was born in 1922 in Austria. In 1938, following the annexation of Austria by the Nazis, anti-Jewish laws were implemented, and thousands of Jewish families were evicted from their homes. Inge’s father was sent for forced labor at Dachau, but was released and then deported on the St. Louis, the infamous ship that set sail from Germany on May 13, 1939, carrying more than 900 Jews fleeing Nazi persecution. The ship was denied permission to dock in Cuba, Canada, and the U.S., and was forced to turn back to Europe. Inge’s father disembarked in the UK. Inge, her mother, and brother were left in Vienna and went into hiding with fake documents. Inge worked in forced labor at night in a spinning mill. In return for Inge’s mother’s jewels, an influential count involved in smuggling helped the family to cross into Switzerland. After a short time in a refugee camp, Inge was tapped to manage a villa set up by the American OSS to spy on Nazis and coordinate operations by partisan groups fighting the Germans. After the war ended, Inge moved to Hollywood and became a journalist and composer for pop stars, sharing time between Israel and US. When she turned 96, she performed as a singer in the death metal band, “Inge & the TritoneKings.” When she was well over ninety, she took part in the Swiss qualification for the Eurovision Song Contest. To hard rhythms she delivered messages like: ‘If you want to live long, laugh at death!’ In March, 2020 Inge contracted Covid-19 at the age of 98. She survived, she tells a Swiss newspaper, ‘I neither know how I got Corona, nor how I survived it. The six weeks are like obliterated. My memory was impaired, my head wasn't working properly, I was between reality and nightmare. I can say so much, otherwise I'll have a total blackout.’ Inge Ginsberg passed away on July 20, 2021, at age 99. She was living in a Zurich care facility and one of her band members said due to the isolation, she died due to the boredom, loneliness, and depression due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Photo © Ursula Markus / The Lonka Project, 2020
Yosef Ron was born in 1934 in Lodz, Poland. When he was 5 years old, Nazi Germany invaded Poland and his family moved to ghetto Piotrkow. It was the first Jewish ghetto in Nazi-occupied Europe. Following the 1942 deportations to Majdanek and Treblinka death camps, some Jewish factory workers, like Yosef’s father, still remained in the ghetto. Yoseph was forced to separate from his mother Miriam who was transported with his brother Reuben to Ravensbrück while Yoseph and his father Moshe were transported to Buchenwald and later to Bergen-Belsen. Thanks to Count Folke Bernadotte who, before the end of the war, led a rescue operation transporting interned western European inmates from German concentration camps to hospitals in Sweden, Yosef, after Bergen-Belsen was liberated, was sent to recover in Sweden where the family was reunited. In 1949 they immigrated to Israel. Yosef never had a childhood and enjoys time with his grand children, Maya and Guy. Yosef Ron passed away in late August 2021.
Photo © Alon Ron / The Lonka Project, 2019
Very pleased to announce a possible breakthrough in the vandalism case concerning thre photo portrait of Peggy Parnass by Axel Martens. The Jerusalem police issued a press anobouncement early August 25, 2021 morning that they have arrested a woman in connection to the continued vandalism of the parnass portrait hanging in The Lonka Exhibition in Safra Square in Jerusalem. The announcement was a press release saying in the night the police received a call from the security section of the Jerusalem Municipality saying a woman was vandalizing the portrait, again. The police arrived in time and detained the woman. Here is hoping this puts an end to defacing this powerful portrait. Also a hearty shout-out to the Jerusalem Municipality for their vigilance ad quick action. The photograph above was made about 10 AM after it had been already cleaned of any paint by the municipality. Many thanks
We are very pleased to announce that the vandalized photograph of Peggy Parnass has been cleaned and the paint removed by the Jerusalem Municipality. This photograph of women admiring the double portrait of Parnass made by German photographer Axel Martens while orthodox Jewish children play on the lion sculpture at the entrance to Safra Square in Jerusalem was made on August 2, 2021.
The inspiring and gracious Andrea Anati (L), a Holocaust survivor born in northern Italy in 1931, during a tour of The Lonka Project exhibition in Safra Square in Jerusalem on August 2, 2021, explains his passion for rock climbing to the crowd. His portrait was made by Israeli photographer Roni Sofer. At right, Dr. Chagai Rot leads a tour of The Lonka Project exhibition in Safra Square in Jerusalem. He has arranged with the Jerusalem Municipality for tour guides to provide a free weekly tour every Wednesday at 5 PM throughout the summer. To sign up for the tour go to the following Jerusalem website please:
A piece on Radio Kraków in Polish on the Lonka Project exhiibition in the JCC in Kraków - both brougth to you by the Polish photographer Grzegorz Litynski, who photographed Niusia Horowitz-Karakulska for the project. Her portrait is included, along with others on the website including:
Alec Soth portrait of Adam Han-Górski
Patrick Zachmann (Magnum Photos) portrait of Gerda Weismann-Klein
Jim Hollander portrait of Rabbi Israel Meir Lau
Vandalism - here we go again. These two images of the portrait of Peggy Parnass, age 94, and made by photographer Axel Martens in Berlin, have now been vandalized five times. The 4th vandalism is on left, and the 5th on the right. The portrait was cleaned up by Peggy's niece Keren Peled with help of her husband Gal on July 2, 2021 and then was painted on again by vandals four days later.
Photographs above show (left) Keren Peled, Peggy Parnass' niece as she removes the gold spray paint from her aunt's photographs, (center) after cleaning some of the face it appears golden tear drops form and , right, two security officials from the Jerusalem Municipality look at the damaged photograph to see how it could be protected from future attacks. The 5th vandalism took place about one week later. At this point we are leaving the photograph with the paint and hope the Municipality sees fit to clean the photograph if it should be vandalized. Photos by Jim Hollander
From an e-mail sent by the IRAC received, today, July 12, 2021.
Yesterday, Sunday, July 11, 2021, the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) filed a petition in the Jerusalem District Court against the Municipality of Jerusalem for failing to take appropriate action against the vandalism of women’s images on signs and billboards on the streets of Jerusalem. The petition was filed in response to the repeated vandalism of a photo of holocaust survivor Peggy Parnes in a photo exhibition in Safra Square, home of Jerusalem’s municipal offices.
The desecration of Peggy’s photo is not a unique incident. There is a widespread trend of the vandalization of women’s images in the public domain in Jerusalem. Women’s faces are scratched out, torn, or painted over throughout the streets of the city. This is humiliating and insulting to the women featured in the vandalized photos and sends the message that there is no room for women in the public domain.
IRAC has been tracking this trend for 5 years and has repeatedly written letters of complaint to the Municipality of Jerusalem to preserve a respectful public domain in the city, and reminding them of the municipal bylaw prohibiting the vandalism of signs.
Anat Hoffman, IRAC Executive Director: “The vandalism of a photo honoring Holocaust survivor Peggy Parnes is heartbreaking and infuriating. Desecrating images of women is the most aggressive way of excluding women from the public domain, and is clearly not in line with Judaism. We are saddened that we must remind the Municipality of Jerusalem time and time again, year after year, of their basic obligation to uphold the law prohibiting the vandalism of signs with images of women, to the point that we were forced to file a legal petition on the matter.”
Unfortunately and sadly, we have to announce two recent deaths of Holocaust survivors who sat for photographic portraits for The Lonka Project.
Yosef Dekel was born in Czechoslovakia in 1915, the eldest son of a family with eight children. Yosef served in the Czech Army and later joined the Bnei Akiva, movement where he met his future wife Attara, in preparation for immigrating to Mandatory Palestine. The couple married a few hours before the Nazi German invasion. In November 1940, they attempted to reach the shores of Mandatory Palestine, with Attara giving birth on the high seas. Their entry was denied by the British, and they were ordered deported to a detention camp in Cyprus aboard a ship called the “Patria.” The Haganah, a paramilitary group of Jews, tried to block the deportation by sabotaging the Patria with small explosives, which caused the dilapidated ship to sink within minutes. Yosef held his baby Zipora and jumped into the water with his wife, who could not swim. Zipora held onto Yosef's leg while he swam to the shore. They survived. A total of 267 men, women and children, fleeing Nazi Europe, drowned in the “Patria" disaster. After eight months in the Atlit detention camp, they settled in Netanya. Yosef is 106 years old and still lives in Netanya, where he fought as a soldier during the 1948 war of independence. Rifka Helfand, a younger sister of Yosef, was born in 1925. After the Nazi invasion Rifka, their parents and six children were sent to Auschwitz. Rifka was18 and remembers Mengele separating her from her parents and sister. She worked in the camp’s kitchen and risked her life in smuggling potatoes to her sick sister and other prisoners dying of starvation. Rifka survived Auschwitz but her parents and sister perished. Six of her siblings succeeded in immigrating to Israel, settling in Netanya where they were reunited with their brother Yosef. Yosef Dekel passed away in late June 2021, age 106.
Photo © Amir Levy / The Lonka Project, 2020
Esther Béjarano (née Löwy)was born on December 15, 1924, the daughter of Jewish cantor Rudolf Loewy, in French-occupied Saarlouis, the family later moved to Saarbrücken, which was controlled by France and known as Saarland following the World War I Treaty of Versailles. Esther enjoyed a musical and sheltered upbringing until the Nazis came to power and the city was returned to Germany in 1935. Her parents and sister Ruth were deported and killed, while Esther had to perform forced labor before being sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1943. There she became a member of the girls' orchestra, playing the accordion every time trains full of Jews from across Europe arrived. Esther said that music helped keep her alive. ‘We played with tears in our eyes, the new arrivals came in waving and applauding us, but we knew they would be taken directly to the gas chambers.’ Because her grandmother was a Christian, Esther was later transferred to the Ravensbrueck concentration camp and survived a death march at the end of the war. She recalled her rescue by U.S. troops who gave her an accordion, which she played the day American soldiers and concentration camp survivors danced around a burning portrait of Adolf Hitler to celebrate the Allied victory over the Nazis. She emigrated to Israel in September, 1945 and married Nissim Béjarano. The couple had two children before returning to Germany in 1960. Encountering again open antisemitism, Esther used the power of music to fight antisemitism and racism in post-war Germany and became politically active, co-founding the Auschwitz Committee in 1986 to give survivors a platform for their stories. She received several important German medals, including the Order of Merit first class, for her "relentless activity for peace and against anti-Semitism, racism and fascism." Esther died at age 96 in Hamburg on July 10, 2021.
Photo © Eric Schuett / The Lonka Project, 2020
Vandalism - Before & After
Unhappy to report that the portrait of Peggy Parnass has once again been vandalised. The double portrait by Berlin photogrpaher Axel Martens is printed 3-merters in height. Luckily it is printed on what is called "DiBond" - printed on paper, which is then laminated onto an aluminum and plastic sandwich (bottom) with a plastic shield above the image. This adds to the photo's texture and richness of colors, as well as to it permanence and wash-ability. In this case white spirits, paper towels and much elbow grease to remove the gold spray paint on the portait, June 27, 2021. Fingers crossed that the culprit does not return for a fouth round of vandalism to this or any other photo in the exhibition. The Jerusalem Municipality said that they will look into increasing security around the exhibition. The Lonka Project exhibition of 60 photos is on view in Safra Square in central Jerusalem until the end of August. It is held outdoors, is free to the public and open 24-7.
The Lonka Project is proud to announce the opening of an exhibit in the Ghetto Fighter's Museum in Kibbutz Lohame HaGeta'Ot, northern Israel, in its second collaboration with Photo Is:rael in their current international photo festival. The exhibition consists of 48 photo portraits from The Lonka Project's collection of Holocaust survivor portraits. There are 16 black and white images inside an "X" within the main gallery in the museum that include some vertical mirrors, which are flanked by 32 color images lining the walls of the gallery and the entry staircase (seen above). The exhibition will be open through the summer 2021.
Curator: Ya'ara Raz Hakla
Designer: Ohad Benit
Photos in museum by Jim Hollander
Photos above, L to R: Davis Factor, Lois Adamski-Peek, Axel Martens, Vardi Kahana, Greg Williams, Louise Kennerley, Nadav Neuhaus (large print).
Photos by, L To R:
Tom Vack, Grzegorz Litynski, Gideon Markowicz (top & bottom), Oded Wagenstein (top & bottom), Marlen Noy, Greg Williams, Louise Kennerley
Photos by, L To R:
Marko Dashev, Paolo Pellegrin, Roger Ballen (C), Marissa Rith, Cheney Orr
Photos by, L To R:
Armin Smailovic, Ohad Zwigenberg, Gilles Peress, Amir Levy
Photos b,y L To R:
Eyal Warshavsky, Marko Dashev, Oded Wagenstein (top & bottom, C), IKaren Gillerman (BW), and Marissa Roth (R)
Photos by, L To R:
Sébastien Van Malleghem, Eyal Warshavsky, Grzegorz Litynski, (color, C), Marissa Roth, Jim Hollander.
Photos by, L To R:
Heidi Levine, Roger Ballen, Marissa Roth, Jim Hollander
A new photographic magazine is coming out in June-July 2021and we're proud to announce The Lonka Project will have a photo spread by ten of the professional photograhers who participated in the project over the past two years. It is a large format, 250-page magazine and will only be available as a real magazine, not an E-zine or online. Their website is https://www.curioussociety.org Check out their very interesting, informative, artistic and even curious website. Special thanks go out to photo editor (and photographer) Natalie Behring and guest editor Karen Mullarkey, and to the Curious originator (and photographer), Kenneth Jarecke.
The photographers included in this black & white photo spreah on Holocaust survivors who participated in The Lonka Project are:
Davis Factor photographed Joseph Alexander in Los Angeles.
Lauren Koplowitz photographed Alex Gross in Miami.
Douglas Kirkland photographed David Lenga in Hollywood.
Marissa Roth photographed Dorothy Bohm in London.
Kristian Schuller photographed Salomea Genin in Berlin.
Jane Evelyn Atwood photographed Ginette Kolinka in Paris.
David Burnett photographed Nat Shaffir in Washington DC.
Rustam Bayramov photographed Margot Pins in Rimonim.
Eli Reed photographed William Samelson in Austin.
D-Mo Zajac photographed Harry J. Fransman in Sydney.
We are proud to announce The Lonka Project is now available in a Polish language version with special outstanding thanks to photographer Grzegorz Litynski who is responsible for putting this together. It is a virtual exhibition available online through the Jewish Culture and Education Center in Wrocław, Poland. There will be 30 Holocaust survivor portraits available in each exhibit that will rotate every month. All the portraits are of survivors who were born in Poland. The stories and the information are available only in Polish.
Here is the address of the exhibit:
Here is a partial list of some of the survivors and the photographers who made their portraits are on view in this virtual l exhibition in Wroclaw, in no particular order.
Joseph Pell - photographed by Lori Adamski-Peek
Joseph Alexander - photographed by Davis Factor
Roman Polanski - photographed by Franck Leclerc
Ryszard Horowitz - photographed by Gilles Peress
Ralph Hakman - photographed by Barbara Davidson
Dov Landau - photographed by Yechiel Hakoen
Gaby Koren - photographed by Ronen Akerman
Miriam Ziegler - photographed by Moe Diron
Samuel Bak - photographed by Nati Harnik
Gerda Klein - photographed by Patrick Zachmann
We are saddened to receive the news, a few days ago at the end of May 2021, that Michael "Mickey” Bieder had passed away. He is the second from left in the top row of portraits of Holocaust survivor friends who live in Los Ageles and gather at the Café Europa. Mickey Bieder was born in 1923 in Ivanhorod, present-day Ukraine. He lost a younger and an older brother and an older sister. He took a train to Budapest, then to Austria, then after the war back to Ivanhorod. One sister survived the war. In 1975, he immigrated to the United States.
Photo © Ethan Pines / The Lonka Project, 2019
We are sad to hear that Yitzhak Arad has passed away. May his memory be blessed.
Itzhak Arad was born in Święciany, Poland (now Lithuania) in November, 1926. During the war he joined the ghetto underground for two years. Then, in 1943, he joined the Soviet partisans of the Markov Brigade, where he encountered antisemitism in the non-Jewish unit. Yitzhak remained in that unit until the end of the war, taking part in attacks on Nazi railroads, bridges and trains in the forests of Belarus and in eastern Lithuania. In 1945, Yitzhak arrived illegally in Mandatory Palestine. He joined the Israeli army, rising to the rank of Brigadier General. Later he became the director of the Yad Vashem Holocaust facility in Jerusalem for 21 years from 1972 until 1993. Itzhak Arad passed away in May, 2021.
Ramat Hasharon, Israel
Photo © Yoav Alon / The Lonka Project, 2019
We are sad to report that Yosef (Joseph) Kleinman passed away at age 91 in early May, 2021. The Lonka Project has two portraits of Mr. Kleinman, both made at his home in Jerusalem, by two individual photographers.
At left Photo © Oren Ben Hakoon / The Lonka Project, 2020
At right: Photo © Yonatan Sindel / The Lonka Project, 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yosef Kleinman was born in Hungary in 1930 and is the last living survivor who testified against Adolf Eichmann at his trial in Jerusalem. ‘I was one of about 3,000 teenage boys who wound up together in Auschwitz in the summer of 1944. We were considered too young to work and so we spent the entire summer in our barracks waiting for the end and hoping to survive. ‘It was March 19, 1944,’ he recalls, ‘the Satmar Rabbi was visiting our village and he announced: “... everyone is to go home; it is dangerous to remain here.” Chaos ensued, and then we learned the Germans had taken control of Hungary.’ The Jews were herded into the ghetto, and the deportations to death camps began. ‘We were 80 people crammed into a cargo train without food or water, like animals.’ When they arrived in Auschwitz, ‘Suddenly the doors were flung open and the Nazis howled: “Everyone out! Leave your things outside!” ‘My mother disappeared.’ I never saw her again. When I reached the selection platform, I saw the officer deliberating which side to send me to. I clutched my father’s hand - he was barely standing up - the officer separated us, sending me to work - which meant life. I never saw my father again.’ Over the next seven weeks, 438,000 Jews arrived in Auschwitz in 150 trains. The boys in his group were too young to work. The 3,000 young boys were shut into barracks, from which they could see the Sonderkommando, the lifeless men who transferred the bodies from the gas chambers to the crematoria. Dr. Mengele and his deputy Dr. Thilo arrived. ‘They made us line up and ordered us to disrobe. All the skinny boys were sent out, including me. But I left the line and made a dash for my brother’s barracks, and from there, back to my own bunk. The boys who had been selected were loaded onto trucks. They knew exactly where they were going to. Cries of Shema Yisrael pierced the air.’ Five months later the Kleinman brothers succeeded in smuggling themselves into a group that left Auschwitz for Kaufering slave labor camp, a subsidiary of Dachau concentration camp in Germany. ‘Work was the ticket to life.’ While they were incarcerated in Kaufering, Europe was liberated from the Nazis and the war came to an end. Yosef finally arrived in Mandatory Palestine after a perilous sea voyage on an illegal ship, capture by the British, and incarceration in Cyprus and in Atlit.
Just adding a few recent photos of the exhibition in Safra Square, Jerusalem.
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man reading the story of Leila Jabarin, photographed by Debbie Hill (USA) in Umm el-Fahm, Israel. Jabarin was born inside the Nazi death camp Auschwitz in 1942. She survived and her moved with her family to Mandatory Palestine. At age 17 she met a Moslem man, changed her religion, married and moved to the Israel Arab town of Umm el-Fahm. She did not tell of her Holocaust survival story for over 50 years.
Left; Steve McCurry (USA) photographed Sonia Kam and sister Hannie (left) in New York City.
Center: Abir Sultan (Israel) photographed Rabbi Menachem Mendel Taub in Jerusalem.
Right; Dave Burnett (USA) photographed Nat Shaffir in Washington DC, USA.
Children play in Safra Square. The portrait at left i s by Eli Reed (USA) and is of survivor William Samelson and was made in Austin, Texas, USA. At right is Pascaline Lefin's (Belgium) portrait of Henri Kichka made i n Brussels, Belgium. Kichka died from complications of Covid-19 in April, 2020.
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men hold evening prayers in Safra Square. In foreground is the portrait by Greg Williams (Great Britain) of Olympic weight lifting champion and Holocaust survivor, Sir Ben Helfgott, made in London.
Israeli riot police grouped for possible disturbances (that did NOT take place) besides Ziv Koren (Israel) photograph of four survivors who all were in Auschwitz. It was photographed in Koren's studio in Tel Aviv.
Henri Mass Coleman was born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1936. The Mass family was from Lwow, Poland, and immigrated to Antwerp where their three children were born. After the Nazi invasion in May 1940, the family fled to the south of France. When France fell in June, 1940, the Mass family found themselves under the rule of the Vichy regime, and they were deported to Rivesaltes concentration camp in southern France. To save her children, Henri’s mother, through a resistance member, appealed to the AFSC, an American Quaker aid organization, whose members were rescuing children from Europe. Henri, age 6, and his sister Mimi, 8, were placed on a convoy of refugees which left Marseille bound for Portugal, where the ship SS Serpa Pinto was docked. Their youngest sister Helene was given to a French Catholic family. The Serpa Pinto left Portugal, docking in Casablanca and Bermuda, and reaching New York's Staten Island on June 24, 1942. When Charlotte and Marvin Coleman learned about the plight of the 50 lone Jewish children on board, they volunteered to foster Henri and Mimi in their Chicago home. When the war ended, the Colemans learned that Henri’s parents had perished in the Holocaust, and the couple adopted both children. Back in France, thanks to the efforts of Marvin Coleman, their younger sister Hélène, then 16, discovered her Jewish identity, and in 1953, the three siblings were reunited in the United States. The circumstances of their escape and the tragic fate of their birth parents were never discussed. Henri became a father to three children. He retired to Arizona, where he passed away in 2020.
Tuscon, Arizona, USA
Photo © John Pregulman / The Lonka Project, 2020
Lily Gumbush was born in 1930 in Croatia. At the outbreak of World War II, Lily and her family fled to Bacarz, a fishing village on the Italian border, where an Italian family sheltered them for a while from the Italian fascist police. But they were caught and all forced to move into an Italian ghetto. From there they were transferred to several concentration camps and then shipped to Auschwitz. Lily was forced to work in construction and later in a weapons factory. Lili was sent to her death to the gas chambers but was rescued miraculously, and later she survived the death march. Lily passed away in the beginning of April, 2021.
Photo © Oren Ben Hakoon / The Lonka Project, 2020
Rabbi Yechezkel Roth, known as the Karlsburger Rabbi, was born in Arad, Romania in 1930 to Hungarian ultra-Orthodox Jewish family. In August 1941 all Jewish males 18-55 years old were drafted into labor battalions. The Jews from the Arad district, together with those of the district of Timişoara, were slated to be deported to the Belzec extermination camp in 1942, at the very beginning of a massive joint Romanian-German operation which targeted all the Jews from Regat and southern Transylvania. On October 11, 1942, the order to deport the Jews of Arad was rescinded. In August-September 1944 most of the Jews in Arad fled to Timişoara. Together with the majority of the Jews of Regat and southern Transylvania, the Jews of Arad survived the war. The Rabbi like most of the ultra-Orthodox community does not talk about his teen years during the Holocaust. The Rabbi of Karlsburger shares his time between New York and Mt. Meron in Israel. He is know to be one of the greatest authorities on Jewish law today. Rabbi Roth passed away in the United States on March 6, 2021, and was buried in Israel.
Mount Meron, Israel
Photo © David Cohen / The Lonka Project, 2020
Veronica Phillips, 92, living in Johannesburg, South Africa, was born in Hungary in 1926. She was arrested by the Arrow Cross militia in Budapest and deported on December 1, 1944 from Budapest to Ravensbrück. While there she was ‘by luck’ selected as a laborer and taken to work in Penig (a sub-camp of Buchenwald), where she suffered inhumane conditions. She was taken on a death march. At Johanngeorgenstadt, the group was liberated by the allies, but only after many had been killed, by either the Nazis, starvation, or fatigue. She returned to Budapest in an emaciated physical condition to find her mother and brother. Veronica became a Microbiologist and Geneticist at Brunel University, eventually moving to South Africa, where she was a Microbiology lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand for 20 years. As a result of what she endured as a teenager under the Nazis, Veronica suffered eight miscarriages and could never have children. The only child she gave birth to, survived less than two days. Veronica passed away in Johannesburg on February 24, 2021.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Photo © Kim Ludbrook / The Lonka Project, 2019
The Lonka Project is very saddened to report that Walter Spitzer, age 93, has passed away in Paris from complications due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Above is Spitzer's portrait (right) as it hangs in the current Lonka Project exhibition in Safra Square in Jerusalem. At left is a photographic portrait of Holocaust survivor Leon Schagrin made by photographer John Myers in Parkland, Florida in 2019.
Walter Spitzer's portrait was made by Alfred Yaghobzadeh in the artist's atelier in Paris in 2019. Spitzer's story of survival is below.
Walter Spitzer was born in Cieszyn, Poland in 1927. When the ghetto was liquidated in June 1943 Spitzer’s mother was shot, and the sixteen-year-old Walter was deported to Blechhammer, a sub-camp of Auschwitz. There he made his first drawing, with a burnt stick on an empty cement bag. Spitzer describes the moment when his life was, quite literally, saved by drawing. During the final months of World War II, Spitzer was an inmate in the Buchenwald concentration camp and was summoned to appear before the German political prisoner who was in charge of his barracks. Spitzer’s name was on a list of inmates to be sent off the next day to a work camp, a move which would mean certain death for him. His anti-Nazi block master told the artist he would delete him from the transport list on one condition. Spitzer had to promise, if he survived, “to tell with his pencils all you have seen here.” Spitzer lived to honor his vow, providing generations with an artistic record of the Holocaust and crimes against humanity. Walter Spitzer has lived and worked since World War II in France, where he studied at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris, becoming a renowned painter and print maker. Walter Spitzer passed away from complications due to the Covid-19 pandemic in mid-April 2021, at the age of 93.
Photo © Alfred Yaghobzadeh / The Lonka Project, 2019
THE LONKA PROJECT in SAFRA SQUARE, JERUSALEM
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An exhibition of The Lonka Project photographic portraits of Holocaust survivors opens in Safra Square in central Jerusalem on April 8, 2021, commemorating "Yom HaShoah,"
or Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The exhibition will be shown for four months - until August.
The Lonka Project, hosted by the Jerusalem Municipality, is honored to present portraits and stories of Holocaust survivors from around the world. This exhibition in Safta Square is made possible thanks to the generosity of Debra Pell in memory of her father Joseph Pell.
Here is a link to an article published today in the Times of Israel written by Jessica Steinberg
Some images made while hanging the exhibition over the past three days. All photos © Jim Hollander, 2021.
Image right: Ginette Kolinka photographed in Paris by © Jane Evelyn Atwood (USA & France), 2019
Image left: David Lenga photographed in Hollywood, California, USA by © Douglas Kirkland (USA), 2020
Image center, left: Solomon Kofinas photographed in New York City by © B.A. Van SIse (USA), 2020
Image center, right: Dorothy Bohm photographed in London by © Marissa Roth (USA), 2019
Image above: Joseph and Eda Pell photographed in San Rafael, California, USA by © Lori Adamski-Peek (USA), 2019
Joseph Pell passed away in December 2020, at age 96..
Below, left: Peggy Parnass photographed in Berlin by © Axel Martens (Germany), 2019
Below, right: Mordechai Perlov photographed in Johannesburg, South Africa by © Roger Ballen (USA), 2019
Mordechai Perlov passed away on January 20, 2020, at age 93.
Image above, left: Joseph and Eda Pell photographed in San Rafael, California, USA by © Lori Adamski-Peek (USA), 2019
Image above, center: Professor Shaul Paul Ladany photographed in Omer, Negev Desert, Israel by © Tsafriar Abayov (Israel), 2019
Image above, right: Dr. Andrea Anati was photographed in the Ein Prat Nature Reserve by © Roni Sofer (Israel), 2020
There are 59 images from The Lonka Project collection on view in the Safra Square exhibition, curated by Hila Smolansky, head of exhibitions in the Jerusalem Municipality. Each of the images, above, is 2-meters wide, DiBond. Smaller prints are 1-meter wide.
Printing was done at The Print House, Tel Aviv. Hanging production by Artadmin.
Exhibition curator: Hila Smolansky, head of exhibitions in the Jerusalem Municipality. Produced by Kobi Frig.
Continuing amazing production activity by Chagai Rot
Design by Jim Hollander with great thanks to Yuval Rakavy
Survivor stories and photographer credits are in English, Hebrew, and Arabic
Image below: Rea Ben David in The Print House with test prints of all 59 photographic portraits of Holocaust survivors included in this exhibit.
Image above left: Opening ceremony in Safra Square. Portrait of Joeseph Alexander made in Los Angeles, California, USA by © Davis Factor (USA) in 2019.
Image above, center: Safra Square as a two-minute siren wails marking Yom HaShoah, Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, the country comes to a standstill. An Israeli stops and honors the victims in front of the portrait of Joseph and Eda Pell photographed in San Rafael, California, USA by © Lori Adamski-Peek (USA), 2019
Joseph Pell passed away in December 2020, at age 96.
Image above, right: Armed motorcycle riot police stop while patrolling through Safra Square as they admire the portrait of Holocaust survivor Ginette Kolinka made in Paris in 2019 by Jane Evelyn Atwood (USA).
Three photographs above made by Jim Hollander on Yom HaShoah
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David Burnett (USA) photographed Nat Shaffir in Washington DC in 2019.
Left, bottom L to R:
Tom Bickles (Israel) photographed Miriam Tobol in Adam, West Bank in 2021.
Rafi Amar (Israel) photographed Naphtali Bilu in Ashdod, Israel in 2020.
Yossi Aloni (Israel) photographed Yorek Maron in Bat Yam Beach, Israel in 2019.
Greg Williams (Great Britain) photographed Sir Ben Helfgott in London, in 2019.
Louise Kennerley (Australia) photographed Eddie Jaku at 100 years of age in Sydney in 2020.
The Lonka Project is sad to announce as Israel Hero and Martyrs Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah, is about to commence and be marked by remembrances and ceremonies for the next tenty-four hours, that two of the Holocaust survivors in the project's collection have recently passed away. Their stories are below. May their names forever be a blessing.
(Right) Sara (Lili) Leicht was born in 1929 in Romania, and lived in Tileagd with her father Ignace (Yom-Tov), mother Ferenzi Hermina, and six siblings. In April, 1944, weeks after the German occupation, Sara's family was deported to the Oradea Ghetto and from there to Auschwitz. In May, 1944, upon arrival at the camp, Sara was separated from her family, who were all sent to their death. After being rescued from the gas chambers, she was sent to Fallersleben, where she worked in a weapons factory. With the advance of the Red Army, Sara was transferred to a labor camp in the city of Salzwedel, where she was liberated by the U.S. Army. Sara immigrated to pre-state Israel on the illegal immigrant ship Max Nordau. With the outbreak of war in 1948, Sara joined the Palmach unit of the then-underground army and fought with the Harel Brigade for Israel’s independence.
Jerusalem Photo © Radi Rubenstein / The Lonka Project, 2019
Jacob (Jackie) Handeli was born in 1928 in Thessaloniki, Greece, to a family of six. The family's roots in Thessaloniki date to the 16th century. In 1941, the Germans entered Thessaloniki and applied anti-Jewish laws. The Baron Hirsch neighborhood of the city was turned into a ghetto for the city’s Jews. Jackie’s family was deported to Poland on a cramped freight train. After about a week, the passengers were left without water and food, and each time the train stopped, the Nazis would remove the bodies of those who had not survived the journey. There in the wagon, Jackie learned his first sentence in German: "You won't need it anymore." The train arrived at the Auschwitz death camp. Jackie was separated from his parents and sisters, and never saw them again. He and his brothers Judah and Samuel were separated among the sub-camps for forced labor. Jackie and his brothers, like the other Thessalonians, were unable to communicate with other Jews in the camp because they only spoke Greek. At Auschwitz (Bonn), Jackie’s brothers were sent to death, and he was left alone. The Thessaloniki boxer Jacko Rezon managed to obtain food and shared it with Jackie, saving his life from starvation. In January 1945, the prisoners were sent on a death march. Jackie remembers the snow-covered road that was stained with blood. Those who survived arrived at Bergen-Belsen, until the British liberated the camp. In 1947, Jackie sailed to Mandatory Palestine with other volunteers to take part in the 1948 war for Israel’s independence.
Jerusalem Photo © Simcha Barbiro / The Lonka Project, 2019
THE LONKA PROJECT in SAFRA SQUARE, JERUSALEM
Tel Aviv - checking the mounting of large prints at The Print House on March 31, before the opening of The Lonka Project in Safra Square, Jerusalem. An outdoor, Covid-safe exhibition, will open on Yom HaShoah, April 7, 2021. It is due to run for four months. We are very excited the long winter is coming to a close and this exhibition is able to proceed after twice being postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. More to come. Thanks to all. Photos by Jim Hollander
Clockwise from top, left:
Agnes Keleti photographed in 2019 by Bea Bar Kallos in Budapest and Solomon Kofinas (top) photographed in 2020 by B.A.Van Sise in New York City. Ginette Kolinka (B&W) photographed in 2019 by Jane Evelyn Atwood in Paris. Abraham Grinzaid (bottom) photographed by Oded Wagenstein in 2020 in Rehovot, Israel, and Yechiel Alexander photographed in 2019 by Avishag Shaar-Yashuv in Kakur, Israel. (Bottom R) Rea Ben David of The Print House with staff. Emil Farkas (center, below) was photographed in 2021 by Oz Moalem in Carmiel and the photo print of Abraham Grinzaid (top) was photographed by Oded Wagenstein in 2020 in Rehovot, Israel. Dr. Renata Laxova (right) who passed away In November 2020 was photographed in 2019 by Michael Nelson in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
We are sad to announce Ralph Hakman passed away from Coronavirus complications in Los Angeles on March 22, 2021, shortly after turning 95.
The fifth of 10 children, Ralph Hakman was born on March 11, 1925, in Radom, Poland, ‘You have to turn yourself in to the police,’ his mother Rose instructed her 17-year-old son after Ralph’s oldest sister and her baby were caught in their hiding place and taken into custody. ‘Rivka and the baby will be released,’ Rose explained. Ralph was frightened and weeping, but he obeyed. ‘I knew I had to do it for my family,’ he said. In May 1942, after turning himself in, Ralph and other prisoners were marched through the ghetto to a waiting train. Ralph’s mother and sister trailed him to the gate. ‘That was the last time I saw them,’ he said. Ralph was assigned to work in the Birkenau bathhouse, 75 feet from two crematoria. Ralph regularly observed his SS supervisor driving to the crematoria in a Red Cross van, donning a mask and emptying three canisters of Zyklon B crystal pellets into designated ports. Ralph heard the screams of the dying Jews, and then 15 minutes later, when the doors were opened, he saw the bodies tumble out. On January 18, 1945, as the Allies advanced, the prisoners were marched to Gleiwitz, divided into smaller groups and dispatched on death marches. Ralph trekked in the cold and snow with several hundred men for days and at gunpoint managed to flee the German guards, running until they spotted a Russian soldier on a bicycle, who told them the Allies had just liberated the area. It was May 7, 1945.
An obituary in the Los Angeles Times:
Photo © Barbara Davidson / The Lonka Project, 2019
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN - AS ADDING CONTENT FROM TIME TO TIME.
Some of the photographers included in the Willy-Brandt exhibit (seen above) are, in no particular order:
Douglas Kirkland Rina Castelnuovo
Steve McCurry Karine Sicard Bouvatier
Greg Williams Stuart Franklin
Gilles Peress Tsafrir Abayov (banner lower left)
Shlomo Arad Ziv Koren
Roger Ballen (large print on floor)
Photographs from The Lonka Project on display inside the Willy-Brandt Haus in Berlin on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, 2021. The exhibition will be "online" starting today and we hope at some point when pandemic restrictions relax some it will be open to visitors. 104 photographic portraits of Holocaust survivors are n view.
A great "virtual tour" of the works is online at the following link (below in blue).
Stories are available in both English and German.
Curator: Gisela Kayser, WBH.B
Copy & paste the link in blue (below) to your browser:
A link to the You Tube video and (below in blue) of the video message from the presidents of Israel, Germany and the European Council marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, 2021. It is 76 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination and concentration camp. The video is made from clips and still photos of the 18 photographs on exhibit in the President's Residence (Beit HaNasi) in Jerusalem. A photo above (courtesy Beit HaNasi) shows the exhibit.
Special thanks to:
Dr. Chagai Rot for initiating and follow-through in production with this project with Yuval Keshet in Beit HaNasi who curated the exhibit.
Yuval Rakavy for graphic design, expertise, and general overall support.
Bradley Burston for English editing.
The Print House in Tel Aviv for their continuing fine work under pressure.
Below are the 18 portraits selected and printed for the exhibition in the president's Residence, Beit HaNasi, in Jerusalem. All the photographs are of Holocaust survivors in Israel. Printed at The Print House, Tel Aviv.
Participating photographers and survivors:
TOP ROW L to R:
Miri Tszachi photographed Irena Wodislavsky in Ariel.
Hadas Porush photographed Motke Blum in Jerusalem.
Yossi Zamir photographed Aharon Barak in Jerusalem.
Shaul Golan photographed Marie Nahmias in Ramat Hasharon.
Micha Bar-Am photographed Arie Eshel in Kfar Saba.
Gideon Markowicz photographed Motek Mordechai Szymonowicz in Petah Tikva.
MIDDLE ROW L to R:
Tsafrir Abayov photographed Shaul Paul Ladany in Omer.
Ziv Koren photographed Four Auschwitz Survivors (R to L) in Tel Aviv; Shmuel Blumenfeld, Yehuda Maimon, Baruch Kasher and Tommy Schwartz Shacham.
Roni Sofer photographed Andrea Anati in the Ein Prat Nature Reserve.
Reli Avrahami photographed Herta Caspi in Tel Aviv.
Yossi Zeliger photographed Frank Lowy in Tel Aviv.
Tzachi Ostrovsky photographed Laszlo Roth in Bat Yam.
BOTTOM ROW L to R:
Igal Slavin photographed Ina Reinart Rakavy and Missio in Jerusalem.
Ohad Zwigenberg photographed Lia Hoover and her twin sister, Judith Barnea in Ra'anana.
Rina Castelnuovo photographed Four Pilots (R to L) in Hod Hasharon; Itzchak Biran, Moshe Eshel, Aryeh Oz and Nachmann Magen.
Jim Hollander photographer Jakub Weksler in Jerusalem.
Kobi Wolf photographed Abraham Michael Grinzaid in Rehovot.
Jim Hollander photographed Israel Meir Lau in Tel Aviv.
Mazel Tov and congratulations to Kathy Peck and David Marks who were married on New Year's Day, January 1, 2021, in Sherman, Connecticut. The couple had planned a June 2020 wedding, but then the world was hit by Covid-19. They quarantined for ten months and decided on the spur of the moment to get married and usher in a much better year. The Lonjka Project wishes them all happiness, love, and good health in their future years together.
Wedding photo, left: Photo © Michelle Morganstern, 2021
David Marks was born in 1928 in Szilágysomlyó, in the area of Transylvania that was annexed to Hungary in 1940. He was 16 when he was crammed into a cattle-car with thousands of others and brought to Auschwitz, the largest of the Nazi death and extermination camps. Thirty-five members of his immediate and extended family of Romanian Jews were killed in Auschwitz, including his father and brother on the day he arrived. David, on that same day, was selected for work. ‘That same day, 35 members of my family were burned or cremated, that Friday.’ He returned to Auschwitz for the first time in January 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Russian army, and also recounted there his story for the first time. ‘I didn't talk about it with my children,’ he said. ‘I didn't want they should know what I went through.’ He added, ‘I would love Hitler should be alive to see what I accomplished - that I'm alive.’ He still works every day in his woodworking shop. His sons now run the fine furniture and cabinetmaking business he founded in Brooklyn, New York.Poto © Howard Schatz / The Lonka Project, 2019
Photo © Howard Schatz / The Lonka Project, 2019
A front page story in Die Welt, Germany's largest daily, written by Sarah Cohen-Fantl features The Lonka Project exhibition on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, eve January 26, 2021. The exhibition has 104 large photographic prints from The Lonka Project collection and will open "online" on January 27, 2021 in a virtual tour of the exhibition. We hope it will open to the public when pandemic restrictions ease. The exhibit will be shown until at least April 11, 2021.
Photographers featured in the article top, left, clockwise:
Eyal Warshavsky photographed Gabriel Moked, Israeli literary pioneer, in his Tel Aviv apartment.
Photo © Eyal Warshavsky / The Lonka Project , 201
Avigail Uzi photographed Moshe Haelyon with flowers in her Tel Aviv studio.
Photo © Avigail Uzi / The Lonka Project, 2019