Remembering the Holocaust and Kathy Carlisle

CarlisleEducator Kathy Carlisle who was struck by a train and killed on December 8, 2012, was also a Holocaust artist.  She was the photography and painting instructor at the Visual Arts Department at St. Francis High School in Sacramento.  In honor of her memory, the University of Minnesota will be exhibiting “Illuminated Memory,” Holocaust-inspired photos taken by her students. The photos can be viewed from Tuesday until April 13 at the Regis Center for Art.  Before she died, Carlisle was in communication with Howard Oransky, the director of the gallery, for about a year, to try to set this up.

It is intended that the exhibition will be a nationwide model of how to combine studio art with historical study, using the university’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies to springboard Carlisle’s ideas, showing the ways in which academic and artistic study reinforce each other.  The students in her 2012 photography class were given a Holocaust research assignment to choose one person from the Holocaust and tell their story through photographic imagery.

All around the world Holocaust Memorial Day is being honored this year on Monday 8th April.  In Israel it is especially poignant given that it has been said on various occasions that had the State of Israel been in existence as a haven for Jews in 1937 rather than 1948, the Holocaust might not have happened.  Indeed, the Shapell Manuscript Foundation has in its possession a letter from David Ben-Gurion that he had written in response to Prof. Hanoch Albeck.  It said:

I received your letter.  All this would be correct if the State had been established not in 1948 but in 1937 – and if millions of Jews in Europe had not been annihilated, the situation of the State of Israel would have been entirely different.  What, after all, are eleven years in the history of our people which stretches back thousands of years?  But so short a time difference is of great and serious significance to our people and the future of Israel.

But, as Ben-Gurion unfortunately notes, these eleven years became “a great and serious significance to our people and the future of Israel” and thus today, throughout the world – from Israel to Europe and throughout the US (including Sacramento, CA, where Kathy Carlisle once taught) – Holocaust Remembrance Day is commemorated each year.

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