memories unearthed

Over dumplings and noodles we counted our blessings, my friend A and I, after visiting the Henryk Ross exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, memory unearthed. On view are more than two hundred photographs, buried and then unearthed after many years, of life in the second largest Jewish ghetto in German-occupied Europe. They were unauthorized pictures of daily life in the ghetto from 1940-1945. They are views of cruelty, suffering and resilience, familiar no doubt to Syrian refugees but unfathomable to us living in peace and comfort.

I was struck by how many people smiled when it seems there was little to smile about. There are the last glimpses of people marching towards their deaths. Only a few hundred survived from the hundreds of thousands that were forcefully resettled there and then deported. That the photographer and his wife survived is a wonder. A videotaped interview with them at the start of the exhibit left me in awe about the courage they took so that we now can remember. If you live near Boston, make sure you see it.

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