Women of Ravensbruck: Portraits of Courage

Holocaust Museum Houston focuses on women and their experiences in the Holocaust with the art exhibit “Women of Ravensbrück: Portraits of Courage” in the Josef and Edith Mincberg Gallery, Morgan Family Center. Ravensbrück was the largest of the Nazi’s concentration camps for women, located about 50 miles north of Berlin. It opened in May 1939 for an estimated 3,000 people but soon grew to an astonishing 132,000 women and children from 23 nations. These women were not only starved, beaten, raped and murdered, but were also subjected to cruel medical experiments. They faced overwhelming discrimination, first for their religious or political affiliations, and then just for being women. In the end, an estimated 92,000 died.

Amazingly, the average American is not in the least familiar with the courage and determination of the women of Ravensbrück, or the camp itself. Julia Terwilliger, a Florida artist, dedicated her life to preserving the memory of these women. She was determined to shed light on their trials and courage and set about building a collection of interviews from the amazing women who survived the camp. She gathered photographs and even visited Ravensbrück itself and eventually compiled the information into seven large wooden panels with mixed media and photo transfer images. Although she died before her work was finished, her friend and Florida Holocaust Museum Curator Rochelle G. Saidel, Ph.D., completed the exhibit, assembling the text and photographs illustrating the broad spectrum of women imprisoned in the camp.

The exhibit coming to the Holocaust Museum will also include original artifacts from the camp. One item, a cookbook made by the women in Ravensbrück, is very rare and probably unique in the United States. The women found that sharing their recipes helped build a sense of community and was a way of preserving their dignity and humanity.

“Women of Ravensbrück: Portraits of Courage” will be on display at Holocaust Museum Houston through November 9, 2003. The exhibit is underwritten in memory of a Ravensbrück survivor, Sophie (Zofia Teresa) Leuchter, by her husband, Dr. Marcus D. Leuchter, and their children, Linda Addison and Dr. Andrew Leuchter, in cooperation with Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland Leonard Krazynski and incoming Honorary Consul Dr. Zbigniew Wojciechowski.

August 7, 2003 - November 9, 2003

Mincberg 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