L’dor Vador/From Generation to Generation: Portrait Photographs by Seth Harrison

On view November 6, 2016–December 29, 2016

Derfner Judaica Museum + The Art Collection at Hebrew Home at Riverdale is pleased to announce the exhibition L’dor Vador/From Generation to Generation: Portrait Photographs by Seth Harrison, which will be on view from November 6–December 29, 2016. The exhibition features 11 large-scale color digital photographs of Holocaust survivors and their descendants and an accompanying 12-and-a-half-minute video.

The photographs originally accompanied a Journal News/Lohud feature story about the impact of their parents’ and grandparents’ experiences on the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors.  The project asked: “How do you talk about the most painful and formative experiences imaginable when those experiences occurred before you were born?” It suggested that, “with the number of Holocaust survivors dwindling that is one of the challenges facing their children and grandchildren as they take on the responsibility of reminding the world of the depths to which humanity is capable of descending.” In the video, “families of local Holocaust survivors discuss how a lifetime of hearing the experiences of their parents and grandparents has affected their own lives,” Harrison has written.

Jacob Breitstein, 93, and his daughter, Grace Bennett, 54, of Chappaqua, photographed April 25, 2015. Breitstein was 17 when he arrived at Auschwitz with his brother in 1943. His brother was killed a short time later; Breitstein remained there until the camp was liberated in 1945 at the end of World War II.

One of Harrison’s portrait subjects, Grace Bennett of Chappaqua, whose father is a survivor, “first learned of the Holocaust after seeing a film as a seven-year-old in school. She understood how her father got the tattooed number on his arm, and she started to ask him questions.” “The rest of her life has been about making sense of what happened,” according to Harrison. “I still have a lot of trouble, as does my Dad, processing how anybody can reduce themselves to such bestial behavior,” Bennett has said. “It’s incomprehensible.”

All of the participating families were located with the assistance of the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center in White Plains, in particular its Generations Forward program, which helps second- and third-generation survivors learn how to share their loved ones’ stories, as well as the Holocaust Museum and Center for Tolerance and Education in Suffern.

Mark Koller, 84, of Mount Kisco, photographed May 14, 2015, with his daughter, Naomi Koller, 54, and granddaughters, Arianna Killer, 23, and Liora Koller, 19. As a child in Romania Mark Koller, his parents and his brother fled the Nazis, spending time in Transnistria, a Romanian labor camp, before eventually making their way to Israel and finally to the U.S.

At Hebrew Home, where residents include survivors, the exhibition will be particularly resonant. The Derfner Judaica Museum itself was founded by a German Jewish refugee committed to passing on stories told through treasured Jewish objects—from generation to generation.

Seth Harrison’s original story and a link to the video may be found here: https://www.lohud.com/story/life/2015/09/10/holocaust-survivors-families/30930951/ 


Seth Harrison has been a photojournalist at The Journal News/lohud.com in Westchester County for the past 29 years. His body of work also includes documenting the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, several Presidential elections, Superstorm Sandy, the mass shootings in Newtown, CT, coverage of five World Series, and the Boston Marathon bombings, where he covered the tragedy after crossing the finish line as a runner.

As a member of the American Alliance of Museums, Hebrew Home at Riverdale by RiverSpring Health is committed to publicly exhibiting its art collection throughout its 32-acre campus, including Derfner Judaica Museum and a sculpture garden overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades. Derfner Judaica Museum + The Art Collection provide educational and cultural programming for all visitors, including residents of the Hebrew Home, their families, and the general public, who come from throughout New York City, its surrounding suburbs, and elsewhere. RiverSpring Health is a nonprofit, non-sectarian geriatric organization serving more than 13,000 older adults through its resources and community service programs. Museum hours: Sunday–Thursday, 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Art Collection and grounds open daily, 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Call 718 581.1596 for holiday hours or to schedule group tours, or for further information visit our website at https://rslarchive1222.wpengine.com/art.