On November 9, 1938, as part of Hitler’s anti-Semitic policy, Nazis ransacked Jewish neighborhoods, synagogues, and towns scattered across Germany and Austria in a pogrom called Kristallnacht (“Night of Broken Glass”). In that one night, Jewish-owned properties were vandalized and destroyed, including more than 1,000 synagogues; 92 Jews were murdered and 30,000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps
In remembrance of Kristallnacht, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA) and the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara are offering a series of photographic exhibits that give a visual timeline of the Holocaust. SBMA will host Of Life and Loss, photographs of Poland from the works of Roman Vishniac and Jeffrey Gusky. Vishniac’s photos of the effervescent culture of Poland before WWII and Gusky’s visuals of the same region taken six decades later of crumbling ghost towns molds a thoughtful and haunting juxtaposition of Jewish Poland. “The contrast is important because it bridges the past, the present, and the future,” said Elizabeth Wolfson, the director of the Portraits of Survival program at the Jewish Community Center (JCC).
In addition to Portraits of Survival, the JCC also will be showing temporarily The Holocaust Revealed: Photographs of Richard Ehrlich, a unique exhibition that frames the obsessive nature of the Nazis through foreboding, sky-high stacks of paperwork and filing that documented every aspect of Holocaust victims. “There are lists of the number of lice on prisoners’ heads,” said Nancy Friedland of the JCC. “That’s how specific it is.”
A commemoration of Kristallnacht will be held Sunday, November 9, beginning at 5 p.m. at SBMA (1130 State St.) with introductory remarks by Mara Vishniac Kohn and Gusky. At 6 p.m., there will be a candlelight walk of remembrance from SBMA to the JCC (524 Chapala St.), followed by a tribute to Vishniac Kohn for her inspiration in launching Portraits, a photographic exhibition depicting the experiences of Santa Barbara area survivors of the Holocaust. The event is free; candles will be provided. For more information, visit jewishsantabarbara.org or sbma.net.