Looking back at MFA exhibition: devastating and important Lodz Ghetto photos by photojournalist and survivor Henryk Ross

Museum days with David Cox |  Installation scenes from our April 27, 2017 visit to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to see Memory Unearthed: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross. The travel exhibition originated from the Art Gallery of Ontario where this searing and important Holocaust photo collection is held and much of it digitized. You can explore more than 4000 negatives here: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross http://agolodzghetto.com/)

Henryk Ross (1910-1991) was one of less than 900 known survivors of 160,000 confined to the Lodz Ghetto by German Nazis.

photo caption: details from exhibition wall text

 

Before 1939, Ross was a photojournalist for the Polish press and heroically that didn’t stop in the ghetto. He was forced to photograph identity cards for every captive, promotional material, and assignments, often gruesome, for the oppressors’ “Department of Statistics”. While photographing ostensibly for “work” he snapped away bearing witness, building evidence and leaving a record. His wife Stefa was imprisoned there as well, aiding and encouraging his activity. They were married in the ghetto. Ross’s cover necessitated movement, access to equipment,  developing, and film: His perilous “employee” theft went undetected. Henryk Ross was a brave front lines prisoner and artist surreptitiously documenting specific and deteriorating realities of the innocents for five years– building a body of persistent resistance. He was a war photographer and patriot I did not know before this exhibition and will not forget.

photo caption: selected photos on display at the MFA (click to enlarge and for more information) genocide day by day

 

Miraculously both survived, and some negatives.  Ross’s work was used as evidence in the 1961 trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. They testified together. By then he hadn’t photographed anything for years and wouldn’t ever again. “I buried my negatives in the ground in order that there should be some record of our tragedy… I was anticipating the total destruction of Polish Jewry. I wanted to leave a historical record of our martyrdom.” -Henryk Ross

I wonder if there is a memorial plaque on Jagielonska Street near where he hid them?

As this repository was such an exacting chronicle and similar camera format, I thought about curating a show of American FSA/OWI photographers, Ross’s contemporaries, working with home front goals in the same time span as Ross. In 1942 Howard Lieberman and Gordon Parks official assignments included portraits in Gloucester, Massachusetts, of family members missing deployed husbands, brothers, sons and daughters, of a community honoring Memorial Day, of fishermen hard at work providing “Victory Food From American Waters”. People helping. Brave souls. (FSA photograpers and FSA had earned clout pre-1937. Did they inspire Ross? Decades later, did these artists ever come to know each other’s works?)

 

photojournalism_past destruction installation view_ 20170427_lodz ghetto photographs of henryk ross collection holocaust photos at museum of fine arts boston_ © catherine ryan
humanity  devoured- death march past synagogue ruins

 

The exhibition included examples of the Lodz ghetto horrifying, gutting circulars. I used Google translate to transcribe a few of the letterpress announcements. I imagine that the Art Gallery of Ontario will crowd source volunteer transcription one day.

Keep Calm and Carry On pronouncements here, too
Aug 12, 1940 Announcement 104: Jews! Remain Calm!
The events of the last days were triggered by the responsible elements that we wanted to bring chaos into our cycle. These people are aimed at the only important benefits allowed to organize positive and appropriate help for the population. In a short period of time since the creation of the ghetto, after great hardships, it was possible to obtain work from the outside for parts of tailors, carpenters, shoemakers, lappers and seamstresses; soon I will get employment for other crafts, as well as for handicrafts.
The Municipal Budget is Overstated.
Supplying children and the elderly is still in the foreground. Pomino will be equipped with kitchens for all: old and young. Regardless of the (?) general kitchen for workers and the unemployed, which will be issued with 10,000 tanks per day and for various layers (also for religious Jews) – block committees will continue to be supplied. this is a positive plan that must be spotted. this is not an easy task. therefore I am appealing to you with an appeal: keep calm. Do not allow yourself to be misled with irresponsible elements that would hinder your previous work and fulfill your future intentions.
I WANT TO SAVE PEOPLE.
I will do everything that is possible and I will strive to ensure that my tasks are carried out with all due diligence – Ch. Rumkowski

March 22, 1942 Announcement No. 371 :  Resettlement
Subject: Orders concerning the transfer of the ghetto.
Spatialization of the western ghetto part…From the Donnersiteg, the western part of the ghetto must be cleared of all residents and workers. the people living and working there must therefore be in the east…
I hereby announce that the resettlement continues to take place on the initiative of the authorities. I urge the persons concerned – who are destined for resettlement – to do so. upon receipt of the departure request, it is essential that you arrive punctually at the meeting time prescribed by you, otherwise you will have to leave the country without any additional packing.
litzmannstadt-ghetto the 22nd, marz 1942 Ch. Rumkowski* is the oldest of the Jews in Litzmannstadt 

excerpt from the MFA museum label (photo below) concerning Administration and Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski: “…The Elder of the Jewish Council, Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, believed the residents might survive if they became productive…Due to its remarkable productivity, Lodz was the last Polish ghetto to be liquidated. The Jewish Council played a problematic role in the history of the Lodz Ghetto. Its members were forced to implement Nazi policy, but were perceived as privileged in return. Rumkowski remains one of the  Holocaust’s most controversial figures.”- MFA label

August 22, 1942 Announcement no. 428 Concerning the size of the ghetto
In addition to the previously no longer enter. Who does not follow this request and on Thursday d. 24 august 1944, after 7 o’clock early in these areas as well as in the already cleared still encountered, is struck, with death… 
It is bounded by the area: in the west …
limited: in the east …
limited: to the south …
limited; in the East…
and slow to the south…
For special attention
Workers barracked in these areas in closed premises can remain in their workplace and be allowed to work in the same place.
Secret State Police

September 4, 1942 Announcement No. 391 General Curfew in Ghetto

Museum of Fine Arts display label (see photo above) “On September 4, 1942, Lodz Ghetto populace was told that elderly and sick residents and children under the age of 10 would be deported from the ghetto. This notice forbade the remaining residents from leaving their homes while deportees were collected. “From Saturday September 5 1942 from 5pm on a general curfew is in effect until revoked. Excepted are: firefighters, the Transportation Department, feces and garbage haulers, workers involved in the reception of goods at the Baluty Market Square and the Radogoszcz (station), doctors and pharmacy personnel.”

Installation view_ label_20170427_Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross collection Holocaust photos at Museum of Fine Arts Boston_ originated by Art Gallery of Ontario © catherine ryan _130708.jpg

from the digitized archives: click to enlarge and read description

58 Prospect Street adverse possession notice

 

 

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS SUPERIOR COURT DEPARTMENT OF THE TRIAL COURT SUFFOLK, SS. Case No. 1884CV03213C Roman Catholic Archbishop of Boston VS. Maura Healey, as she is the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and Free City Library Association TO: Free City Library Association You are hereby notified that a complaint has been filed against you by the above named plaintiff. This complaint concerns a certain parcel of land with building(s) known as 58 Prospect Street, located in Gloucester, Essex County, and said Commonwealth. Plaintiff seeks a judgment declaring that it owns said property through adverse possession, extinguishing any rights that you may have had to said property through the deed from

Jeremiah J. Healy to Free City Library Association dated April 24, 1900

and recorded with the Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds in Book 1607, Page 259, or for such further relief as the Court deems just and appropriate. This complaint may be examined at the Superior Court for Suffolk County, Boston, Massachusetts or a copy obtained from plaintiff’s attorney. If you intend to make any defense, you are hereby required to serve upon the plaintiff’s attorney, Kimberly Kroha, Esq., Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro, P.C. whose address is 300 Crown Colony Drive, Suite 500, Quincy, MA 02169-0904 a responsive pleading to the complaint on or before the 31st day of January, 2019, the return day, hereof, and a copy thereof must be filed in the Suffolk Superior Court on or before said day. If you fail to do so, judgment by default will be taken against you for the relief demanded in the complaint. Unless otherwise provided by Rule 13(a), your answer must state as a counterclaim any claim which you may have against the plaintiff which arise out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the plaintiff’s claim or you will thereafter be barred from making such claim in any other action. GT – 12,28, 1/4, 1/11/19

 

free Teacher workshop at Cape Ann Museum with support from Essex Heritage | “Unfolding Histories” exhibition opens March 31!

Exciting news from Cape Ann Museum:

March 2018

Teachers throughout Essex County are invited to Cape Ann Museum to study Unfolding Histories: Cape Ann Before 1900, the first major exhibition to bring together historical and archival material from nine Cape Ann institutions focused on life during Cape Ann’s early years, including stories which illuminate the Native American and European contact period, the Revolutionary War, and 19th century history and culture.

Teachers who attend the April 7th Teacher Workshop will discover strategies to increase student literacy with primary source documents using an inquiry-based learning model to tie larger themes to our local area. Designed for K–12 teachers currently working in public & private schools throughout Essex County, this free workshop is a way to earn 10 PDPs for attending the session and creating an activity plan, with additional opportunities to earn more. Space is limited to twenty teachers; registration required. For more information please contact Essex Heritage Education Director Beth Beringer at bethb@essexheritage.org or (978) 740-0444.

The Unfolding Histories exhibit will be on view March 31, 2018- September 9, 2018. Massachusetts Teacher Association members are admitted free!

 

$750,000 #NEH grant opportunity for Gloucester…so many possible ideas and projects!

Archival documentation of a federal grant awarded to Gloucester and nationally recognized for its innovation at the time: reclaiming the City dump for an atheletic field at the High School. Photographs of the project included a sweeping vista from atop Hovey Street. Innovative public works dump reclaimed as Gloucester High School track WPA Annual Bulletin

overlay-banner2_originalShared projects and working together are a focus for a new 2018 NEH grant opportunity.

Contact Mayor Romeo Theken’s arts & culture hotline sefatia4arts@gloucester-ma.gov  by Febraury 28 to add to a list of potential projects for Gloucester for this NEH Deadline, March 15, or to consider as other funding opportunities arise.

Mayor Romeo Theken shares the 2018 press release from the Commonwealth:

Activities supported by National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant funds include:
 capital expenditures such as the design, purchase, construction, restoration
or renovation of facilities and historic landscapes;
 the purchase of equipment and software;
 the documentation of cultural heritage materials that are lost or imperiled:
 the sustaining of digital scholarly infrastructure;
 the preservation and conservation of collections; and
 the sharing of collections.

The grant below is a new grant from NEH and could be a great opportunity to enhance your local cultural or historical organizations. Please share it far and wide. And let us know if we can provide a letter of support for an application from your community.  Regards, Rick Jakious

Good afternoon, 
The National Endowment for the Humanities has just announced a new grant program to support humanities infrastructures. Cultural institutions, such as libraries, museums, archives, colleges and universities, and historic sites, are eligible to apply for grants of up to $750,000.
 
These challenge grants, which require a match of nonfederal funds, may be used toward capital expenditures such as construction and renovation projects, purchase of equipment and software, sharing of humanities collections between institutions, documentation of lost or imperiled cultural heritage, sustaining digital scholarly infrastructure, and preservation and conservation of humanities collections.
 
The application deadline for the first NEH Infrastructure and Capacity-Building Challenge Grants is March 15, 2018. Interested applicants should direct questions about grant proposals to challenge@neh.govor 202-606-8309. 
 
Please consider sharing this exciting new funding opportunity with cultural institutions in your district.
 
Thank you,Timothy H. Robison
Director of Congressional Affairs
National Endowment for the Humanities
400 7th Street, SW  4th Floor
Washington, D.C.  20506
(202) 606-8273

Innovative and worthy contemporary Gloucester possibilities abound: shared Archives (NSAA, Rocky Neck, Sargent House, City Archives, CAM, Legion, Libraries, Wards historical societies, etc); Digitize City Archives; Digitize Gloucester Daily Times archives; building and historic landscape projects city owned (City Archives, City Hall, Legion, Fitz Henry Lane, Fire Station, Stage Fort, beaches, etc) or in partnership; DPW work; on and on.

Additional grant opportunities, news, and deadlines: Continue reading “$750,000 #NEH grant opportunity for Gloucester…so many possible ideas and projects!”

#GloucesterMA national news | Delaware Art Museum John Sloan retrospective

Gloucester, MA is one of four featured walls –and the backdrop for this interview– in the major retrospective exhibition,  AN AMERICAN JOURNEY THE ART OF JOHN SLOAN at the Delaware Art Museum through January 28, 2018. “The exhibition includes nearly 100 works–drawings, prints, and paintings–produced between 1890 and 1946. The Delaware Art Museum holds the largest collection of work by the American artist and illustrator John Sloan, as well as a rich trove of archival materials. This exhibition draws from and celebrates this extraordinary collection, made possible by the artist’s widow Helen Farr Sloan.” The Cape Ann Museum has five Sloan paintings and featured dozens of Sloan’s Gloucester paintings in a major 2015 exhibition.

2017 Video and excerpt from the Brian Drouin WHYY report and interview with Heather Campbell Coyle, Chief Curator at the Delaware Art Museum, on the occassion of the Delaware Art Museum major John Sloan Retrospective.

“His brightest colors are probably when he is working outdoors in Gloucester, Massachusetts from 1914-1918.” By this time Sloan would have been exposed to European painters. “The work of Cézanne, the work of Matisse, the work of Vincent van Gogh, and all of those artists are influencing his work as well,” Coyle said.

Curator Coyle interviewed Delaware Art Museum in front of Gloucester wall of John Sloan retrospective

Women of Essex exhibit at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum opens this weekend

Slated to run in conjunction with National Women’s History Month, Women of Essex Stories to Share, will be on display most weekends from March 18-April 29. The show is hosted by Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum. Lee adds:

“The motivation for this exhibit was the recognition that, while our emphasis at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum has been on shipbuilding and the men involved with it, there were many significant roles of women in the community. Hence the exhibit Women of Essex – Stories to Share. This exhibit features about a dozen women that we are featuring individually in this first phase of the project. To help scope this effort, we are focusing this phase on women who are no longer with us. These include the women that were instrumental in building the first meeting house, one of the first woman auctioneers in the country, a female professional baseball player, a woman who was a motivator behind several town projects, several individuals active in the arts, and even an enslaved woman. There will be collections of several other groups of women, namely teachers and restaurateurs, an Essex mainstay.”

www.essexshipbuildingmuseum.org

women-of-essex-poster-email2017