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Upcoming Special Exhibits

Exhibits at Jewish Museum Milwaukee explore the breadth of the Jewish experience and offer visitors to connect through history, culture and the arts.

Stitching History from the Holocaust
April 8 – September 16, 2018
Opening Preview: Thursday, April 12, 7 pm

After traveling to venues across the country, this highly acclaimed original exhibit returns to Jewish Museum Milwaukee. With this reinstallation, JMM is expanding the discussion around immigration and cross-continental communication, including two new stories of families attempting to flee the Holocaust.

At its core, Stitching History From the Holocaust tells the story of Hedwig Strnad and her husband Paul through the letters to their Milwaukee cousin and the dress designs they sent in the hopes of getting visas. Hedy and Paul were ultimately killed in the Holocaust, but her dress designs survived. The centerpiece of this exhibit is 8 dresses lovingly created by the Milwaukee Repertory Theater Costume Shop. These dresses provide visitors with a tangible connection to the loss of talent in the Holocaust.

Accompanying Stitching History are two more family stories of immigration:

  • The Oelsner family ends up fleeing to Japanese-occupied Shanghai in 1939, the only place that they could go without a visa. Their daughter Edie was born there and this collection reflects the family’s journey from Nazi Germany, to war-torn Shanghai, and ultimately to the United States.
  • While Mary and George Stern escaped to the United States in 1938, Mary’s mother Sara Spira chose to stay in Germany. Mary and George settled in Racine, Wisconsin and maintained communication with their family trapped in Europe. Sara was deported from Germany to Poland, where she continued to send postcards updating her children on the hardships she faced from the Gorlice Ghetto. Sara perished in the Holocaust.

Each of these stories push visitors to examine interconnected family relationships and the challenges around immigration through the Holocaust.

Blacklist: Hollywood’s Red Scare
October 12, 2018 – February 10, 2019
Opening Preview: Thursday, October 11, 7:00 pm

The freedoms of speech and assembly are central to the idea of American democracy, but what happens when the rights associated with these freedoms are impacted? How did and does the American public, government, and industry respond to these encroachments. The exhibit will highlight the effects of this intersection of art, politics, and economics and its impact on individuals and the country more broadly.

The people regarded as “Un-American” were disproportionately from minority backgrounds—Jewish, immigrants, gays, and African American.  One person’s subversion is another’s biting commentary on the American experience. This exhibit will explore the factors which led to the Hollywood Blacklist, a time in which these first amendment freedoms and what it meant to be patriotic became central in a cultural battle, one that Americans continue to replay with new and different issues.

Organized and curated by Jewish Museum Milwaukee.

Vedem: The Underground Magazine of the Terezin Ghetto
Spring 2019

Vedem: The Underground Magazine of the Terezin Ghetto examines the literary magazine written by Jewish teens imprisoned at Terezin, a Nazi camp in Czechoslovakia during the Second World War. Using graphics, drawings, paintings, prose, and poetry, from 1942 to 1944 these brave teens secretly wrote and illustrated the longest-running underground magazine in a Nazi camp. Vedem, Czech for “In the Lead”, documented with defiance, humor, and heartbreak the voices of some of the era’s youngest resistance fighters, and the exhibit breaks down the original pages of Vedem to reconstructs them in the form of a contemporary magazine.

Curated & Designed by Rina Taraseiskey, Michael Murphy and Danny King. Organized by The Vedem Underground Project.

Marc Chagall Le Cirque
Summer 2019

Chagall is considered one of Europe’s most accomplished 20th-century artists whose work reaches every corner of the world. The Le Cirque portfolio, consisting of 38 numbered, limited edition lithographs, was created in Paris in 1967 with the assistance of master graphic artist Efstratios Teriade. The works showcase Chagall’s quintessential use of vivid color, dreamlike composition, whimsical characters and magnetic draw to the circus, which he felt was symbolic of the human condition.

Marc Chagall’s Le Cirque series is on loan from the permanent collection of the Manitowoc-based Rahr-West Art Museum.