By ARIANA BARRETT
Walking through the UMW gallery, you’ll see many faces plastered on the walls. Both men and women, ranging from young to old. Next to their pictures you can read a quick synopsis of their life. But who are these people? They are the portraits of Jews in Wartime Amsterdam by Annemie Wolf.
“Lost Stories, Found Images: Portraits of Jews in Wartime Amsterdam by Annemie Wolf.” features 26 photos in a photographical art exhibition shown in UMW’s Ridderhof Martin Gallery.
The gallery was started by Dutch photo historian Simon Kool, while conducting photographical research. Kool only happened to stumble upon the name Annemie Wolf, of whom he had never previously heard. He did some research and was able to track down Monica Kaltenschnee, the woman who inherited Wolff’s belongings.
Kool discovered that Wolff was a German-born Dutch photographer. In Wolff’s belongings he found approximately 100 rolls of undeveloped film from 1943. The film had 434 individuals correlating with ledgers of German names of those who fled to Amsterdam hoping to escape the German Nazis. It is rumored that these Jews decided to get their pictures taken during the middle of the war in hopes to create false identifications in order to escape the reign of Hitler.
After developing the film Kool was able to identify more than half of the people and their stories that went with the photographs by conducting research and interviews. Unfortunately, some still remain unidentified, as these photos weren’t discovered until 2008.
“This exhibition showcases photographs from Jewish people that were evacuated to Amsterdam and what their life story was like…it’s very somber, it’s very heavy. But, it’s something that I believe everyone should be very well aware of.” Said Kelly Swain, senior studio art major.
Swain is also a gallery monitor at UMW galleries and gets the opportunity to present these photographs to the Fredericksburg community, with members being both on and off campus.
The gallery was advertised in art magazines, Fredericksburg’s Free Lance-Star, and the university also held a press release. With all of these combined, there has already been a huge draw to the two week old exhibition, including a large number of nonaffiliated UMW members to the gallery.
Associate Professor of German, Marcel Rotter, first toured this gallery in San Francisco and just knew it had to make a stop at UMW so Rotter reached out to Rosemary Jesionowski, associate professor of studio art and gallery specialist. Jesionowski got in touch with Jacqueline Shelton, coordinator of this show and daughter of George Shelton, one of the photographed men. Shelton plans to visit the university in May.
After two years and major stops in places like San Francisco and Chicago, the gallery made its way to UMW, it’s only east coast stop.
“We’re very excited to have this show…the 12th was holocaust remembrance day we scheduled it so it would fall over that.” Said Tara Youngborg, exhibition coordinator for UMW gallery.
Youngborg is glad to have a different type of art in the gallery, “The exhibition is a very didactic teaching exhibition, as opposed to more fine arts exhibitions.”
The gallery also screened a one hour documentary titled “Last Portraits” after the exhibitions April 5th opening and its planned to show again before the exhibition’s end date of June 28th. The show will be on its way back to Europe after it leaves UMW.