Over the course of a recent visit in Israel this summer, I had the opportunity to briefly tour the Hecht Museum’s art exhibit, “Arrivals, Departures: The Oscar Ghez Collection.” The exhibit, which will run at the museum, found within the University of Haifa, through November 1, features the salvaged works of 18 Jewish French artists who were persecuted and killed during the Holocaust.
The artwork was donated to the University in 1978 and stored since then. The individual artists were recently researched by students in the University of Haifa’s Weiss-Livnat International Graduate Program in Holocaust Studies. The exhibition begins with the peak of the artists’ promising careers in early-20th century Paris, a hub of culture and art in which many artists and intellectuals found refuge. It ends, of course, with the forced “departures” of the artists during Nazi occupation. The two-part nature of the exhibit means that it spans a range of styles and themes, of freedom and of captivity, and most emotionally of the artists’ resilience as they continued to create work within the confines of concentration camps during their last days.
I would strongly urge anyone in the area to visit the exhibit (link provided here), which tactfully and poignantly provides the ability to view our own history through the eyes of these talented artists whose lives and careers were cut so tragically short.