Jonathan Webber: Pepperdine’s ‘Traces of Memory’ exhibit reveals Poland’s Jewish past, heritage

Source: Malibu Times, 2-9-11

A courtyard in Rymanow, Poland, from the book, “Traces of Memory,” from which photographs are now on display at Pepperdine University’s Payson Library. Photo by Chris Schwarz

The most impacting portion to the Payson Library exhibit is dedicated to Holocaust sites of massacre and destruction. Upcoming events and speakers tied to the exhibit take place the end throughout February.

“Traces of Memory: A Contemporary Look at the Jewish Past in Poland,” opened last week in Pepperdine University’s Payson Library. The exhibit, the first of its kind displayed in the campus library, portrays recent images of Polish Galicia in Eastern Europe, as photographed by Chris Schwarz, a late British photojournalist.

At once stark, historical, current and contextual, the objective behind the exhibit was to examine the reclaiming of Poland’s Jewish past and heritage, said Jonathan Webber, an Oxford University professor whose book “Rediscovering Traces of Memory” documents the journeys across Eastern Europe that he and Schwarz embarked upon during the course of a dozen years.

“The idea of this exhibition was to cover a number of emotions and feelings. You just can’t stereotype Poland and say, ‘It’s all in ruins, or it’s all gas chambers,’” Webber said during a phone interview from England last week. “You have to look at that they have gone back to these places and have tried to restore what was before.”

Webber and Schwarz, who died four years ago, undertook the assignment in 1993. The results portray a Poland deteriorated, though sometimes unchanged, since the devastations of World War II….READ MORE

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