“Hélène Berr, A Stolen Life”

Holocaust Museum Houston is proud to present the temporary exhibition, “Hélène Berr, A Stolen Life,” an exhibit by the Mémorial de la Shoah (Paris, France) on view in the Central Gallery beginning Friday, August 26, 2016.

Hélène Berr’s official portrait, 1942 © Mémorial de la Shoah – Coll. Mariette Job

From the personal journal written by Hélène Berr, the exhibit tells the story of a young Jewish French woman, whose promising future was brutally cut short by the Vichy Government’s laws and the Nazi extermination plan. Studying English Literature at Sorbonne University, Hélène Berr was 21 years old when she began her journal. The narrative follows her steps through Paris under German Occupation, observing her daily experiences of the unbearable, oscillating between hope and despair, until her arrest and deportation to Auschwitz in 1944. She died in Bergen Belsen days before the liberation of the camp in 1945; exemplified by the last lines of her journal, “Horror! Horror! Horror!”.

With the support of photographs, archives, films, interactive animations and maps, the display depicts how the daily lives of Jews were impacted by antisemitism and violence and is divided into three parts: Hélène Berr, Vichy and the antisemitic laws, and the journal. A digitized version of the diary, to scroll through page by page, will also be on view.

The journal of Hélène Berr is a precious document, offering witness testimony of the ways in which the Jews in France perceived Nazi persecution. For sixty years, the diary existed solely as a sorrowful family inheritance. In 2002, Mariette Job, niece of Hélène, brought it to the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris, eventually creating this exhibition. Hélène Berr serves as a symbol of strength, hope and courage, as a woman and writer who helped others and resisted defeat until her end. That is how she is remembered, from her last days in the concentration camp, where young girls listened to her words of encouragement, speaking about life before deportation.

The exhibition was designed, created and distributed by the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris, France (curators Karen Taieb and Sophie Nagiscarde), with the guidance of Mariette Job niece of Hélène Berr, and made possible through the generous support of SNCF.

The new exhibit runs through November 13, 2016, in the Museum’s Central Gallery at the Morgan Family Center, 5401 Caroline St., in Houston’s Museum District. There will be a preview reception open to the general public from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, August 25, 2016, with opening remarks by Sujiro Seam, Consul Général of France in Houston, and Jacques Fredj, Executive Director of the Mémorial de la Shoah, as well as a lecture by Dr. Michael R. Marrus at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to all, but advance registration is required for this reception. Visit: http://www.hmh.org/RegisterEvent.aspx to RSVP online. To renew a membership or to join and attend, visit www.hmh.org, e-mail membership@hmh.org or call 713-527-1616.

Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors’ legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.

Holocaust Museum Houston’s Morgan Family Center is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004. For more information about the Museum, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.

August 26, 2016 - November 13, 2016

Central Gallery

M: Closed
T-W: 10 am to 5 pm
Th: 10 am to 8 pm
F-Sa: 10 am to 5 pm
Su: Noon to 5 pm