About this project
Documenting the stories of refugee children rescued to Switzerland during World War II
WHO WE ARE
Laura Bernier, photographer, and Samantha Lakin, historian, are two former Fulbright scholars working together to create a documentary representation of the stories of Jewish children rescued, as refugees, to Switzerland during World War II.
THE "TESTIMONIES" PROJECT
We have been invited to present a photography and film exhibition at the Museum of Tolerance in New York City, on October 21, 2012. We are raising funds to display the photographs from the "Testimonies" project at the exhibition.
This is a unique moment in history to capture the last remaining generation of survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust, through testimonies and photography.
As a historian and photographer, we are constantly imagining the realities of the past. Through in-person interviews and photographs with the Holocaust survivors themselves, we aim to show what happened to the children and adolescents who were accepted into Switzerland, either legally or clandestinely, during World War II.
Our goal is to document the memory and history of these child survivors. Many survivors who Samantha has interviewed have not interviewed before, or have never been specifically asked about their time in Switzerland. These stories have not been documented in a focused way, either through oral history testimonies or photography.
Laura's photographs are compelling. Just look at them! They allow for a view into the life and ideals of the Holocaust survivors, who were influenced tremendously by their childhood as refugees in Switzerland. It is rare to find a historian and photographer working so closely on documenting the same story through two unique lenses.
Our work does not end with the Museum of Tolerance exhibition. We will continue documenting, and speaking with those involved in the refugee story in Switzerland, including rescuers, refugee children, and Swiss citizens who helped during World War II. This work is urgent, as the last remaining generation of Holocaust survivors are becoming older and harder to speak with.
To prepare for this exhibition, we have traveled together in Switzerland, Europe, and Israel to the exact places where Jewish refugees crossed the border and lived during World War II. The photographs capture the essence of this project; the mixed stories of hardship, trauma, and salvation, which are ultimately stories of survival. Throughout this work we have witnessed some of the most inspiring stories of resilience and individual human power. The breadth of this ongoing work and the interest it has generated expands constantly. One survivor pictured in the portfolio was transported from her family in Germany to Switzerland at the age of eight. Her words illustrate the heart of this project, “to make sure the stories are not forgotten.” Our goal is to show how these contemporary images can be visually compelling companions to history.
JOIN US/ WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP
We have been invited to present our "Testimonies" project as a photo exhibit and lecture on October 21, 2012 at the Museum of Tolerance in New York City. Your donations will help us fund the photography exhibition so that interested individuals everywhere can bear witness themselves.
We cannot present the photography exhibition in the same breadth and magnitude without your donations! Your support will create a space for the education surrounding this subject.
We would like to extend a warm invitation to any donors to attend the exhibition and presentation at the Museum of Tolerance, NYC, on October 21, 2012.
Questions? Contacts? For more information, feel free to email Samantha and Laura at email@example.com!
Thank you for your support.
PRIOR EXHIBITIONS AND PRESENTATIONS
Fulbright U.S. Program, 2008-2009, 2011-2012
United States Embassy, Bern, Switzerland, 2012
The Wiener Library, London, UK, 2012
Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel, 2012
Darkroom Fellowship, New York, 2012
Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, University of Kentucky, 2010
National World War II Museum, New Orleans, 2009
Museum Of Tolerance Event Website: http://www.museumoftolerancenewyork.com/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=lkIYLdMMJpE&b=6768723&ct=12133369¬oc=1
Artist's Website: www.labernier.com
Historian's Blog: fulbrightpenseur.wordpress.com/
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