Fort Lauderdale-Davie, Fla. – Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Alvin Sherman Library will be inaugurating the “Hélène Berr, A Stolen Life” exhibit on Tuesday, October 29th from 7:30–9:00 p.m.
Expected to be in attendance are Mr. Philippe Létrilliart, Consul General of France in Miami, Mr. Jacques Fred, Executive Director of Mémorial de la Shoah, Mr. Michael R. Marrus, Professor Emeritus of Holocaust Studies at the University of Toronto, and Ms. Lydia M. Acosta, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian of NSU. Introductory presentations, lecture and Q&A session will take place from 7:30–8:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Theater on the first floor of Don Taft University Center, followed by a reception and visit of the exhibition at the Adolfo and Marisela Cotilla Gallery on the second floor of the Alvin Sherman Library.
The Alvin Sherman Library (ASL) takes pride in being a cultural and educational haven for the Broward County community. The Hélène Berr exhibit is an example of the diverse programming offered by ASL, which strives to be an enriching caveat of information on culture and significant historical events that have impacted our nation and world.
« Writing the entire reality and the tragic things we live, given all their bare seriousness and without deforming them with words, that is a very difficult task which requires a constant effort. »
Almost two years after the publication of her Journal, written between 1942 and 1944, the Mémorial de laShoah chose to return to the tragic destiny of Hélène Berr, a young Parisian girl deported to Auschwitz in 1944. Expanding beyond the strict frame of the journal and the personality of Hélène Berr, this exhibit elaborates on the background of the Occupation and tackles more largely the persecution of the Jews in France.
A student of English, Hélène Berr was 20 years old when she began writing her journal. The year was 1942 and the anti-Jewish laws of Vichy started to radically change her life little by little. Until March of 1944, the date of her arrest, she kept her journal on a daily basis. Deported to Auschwitz with her parents, she died in 1945 at Bergen-Belsen, a few days before the camp’s liberation. This text, of an exceptional literary quality, a subtle account of what France and Paris of the Occupation were like, reveals a real premonition of the inevitable, as the last lines of her Journal evoke: “Horror, Horror, Horror.”
In a deeply moving written account, this text mixes the daily experience of the unbearable with the ideal world of letters, alternating in every moment between hope and desperation. Regarding wearing the yellow star, Hélène wrote: «My God, I would not believe that this would be so hard. I have had a lot of courage all day. I kept my head high, and I looked at peoples’ faces so well as they averted their eyes. But it is hard. Otherwise, the majority of people do not look. The most painful part is meeting other people who wear it. »
For sixty years, the manuscript of Hélène Berr’s diary did not exist except as a painful family heritage.
One day in 2002, Mariette Job, Hélène’s niece, decided to entrust the manuscript with the Mémorial de la Shoah. Published by Tallandier in January of 2008, the diary met an immense success from the very beginning of its publication.
Through this exhibition, the Mémorial de la Shoah offers the public the opportunity to discover several family documents archived at the museum’s documentation center, as well as the original manuscript.
This exhibition, curated by Karen Taieb and Sophie Nagiscarde, was designed, created, and circulated by Mémorial de la Shoah (Paris, France), and made possible through the generous support of SNCF.
From I-95 or Florida’s Turnpike: Head West on I-595 West, exiting at University Drive (Exit #5). Continue South on University Drive to SW 30th Street/Abe Fischler Blvd. Turn left (East) onto SW 30th Street. Past the Miami Dolphins Training Facility, turn right onto Ray Ferrero, Jr. Blvd. The parking garage will be on the right. Parking is $1 per hour.
About NSU’s Library: The Alvin Sherman Library, Research, and Information Technology Center – one of the largest library buildings in the state of Florida – is a unique joint-use facility serving the residents of Broward County as well as NSU students, faculty, and staff members. Thanks to an agreement between the Broward County Board of County commissioners and NSU, the Alvin Sherman Library offers traditional public library services as well as the full academic resources of one of the nation’s major independent universities. For more information visit: www.nova.edu/library/main
About Nova Southeastern University: Situated on 314 beautiful acres in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a dynamic fully accredited research institution dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs at all levels. NSU is a not-for-profit independent institution with 27,000 students. NSU awards associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, doctoral and first-professional degrees in a wide range of fields. NSU is classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and it is one of only 37 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification. For more information, please visit www.nova.edu.
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