Through January 14, 2007 Yeshiva University Museum (YUM) in Chelsea presents four exhibitions on memory and healing: Resistance and Memory in Belgium 1940-1945: Images Past and Present- through Dec. 31, 2006; The Holocaust in the Paintings of Valentin Lustig – through Jan. 14, 2007; At the Altar of her Memories: Video Installation by Tova Beck-Friedman and Puppets by Bracha Ghilai – through Jan. 14, 2007; Vincent Capraro’s Vision: Paintings and Drawings – through November 5, 2006.

More than 60 years after World War II, the Holocaust continues to influence and affect with ever-increasing potency, countless numbers of Jewish and non-Jewish artists. A quartet of exhibitions currently at the Yeshiva University Museum at the Center for Jewish History in Chelsea, demonstrates this fact with astonishing variety.

Resistance and Memory in Belgium, 1940-1945, is a documentary installation
in the main floor Popper Gallery, by Anne Griffin, Prof. of Political Science at Cooper Union for Advancement of Science and Art and photographer Jean-Marc Gourdon, that presents wartime images and contemporary portraits as it tells the story of the courageous men and women, Jews and non-Jews, who actively resisted the Nazi occupation of their small country, Belgium.

The second floor gallery offers Vincent Capraro’s Vision: Paintings and Drawings, superbly crafted paintings and drawings that capture the horror of the Holocaust in works reminiscent of Goya . An Italian American Catholic, born on the lower East Side, Capraro served in the army during WW II, and studied art in New York and Rome. His personal abhorrence of Fascism and his intense feeling for humanity is reflected in this powerful show.

In the nearby Winnick Gallery, The Holocaust in the Paintings of Valentin Lustig, offers mythical scenes of village life in Cluj, Romania, where Lustig was born after the war, from which thousands of Jews were deported to the death camps. Lustig, who lost 55 family members in the Holocaust, now resides in Zurich, but he cannot erase from his inherited memory the historic events and scenes that have been related to him all his life. His meticulously crafted paintings intrigue viewers with their realistic depictions of townspeople, animals, village architecture, and the victims themselves hovering everywhere, all juxtaposed to create highly symbolic tableaux that lend themselves to countless interpretations.

Perhaps the simplest yet the most personal account of a survivor’s story is At the Altar of Her Memories, a film by Tova Beck-Friedman, that relates, through puppets and historic photographs, the Auschwitz experience of her aunt, Bracha Ghilai.
Ghilai was born in Czechoslovakia, and spent her adolescent years in Auschwitz and Bergen- Belsen. Following her liberation, she came to Israel to start her life anew and established a puppet theatre. Through her hand-made puppets, displayed nearby, she relives chapters in her life that for many years she tried to expunge from her memory.

Educational programs and workshops relating to these exhibitions, using gallery hunts and art activities, have been created for families and school children and are available by appointment by calling the Museum office at 212-294-8330.