Current Special Exhibitions


Charlotte Salomon: “Life? or Theater?”

June 19-September 21, 2014

Main Special Exhibition Gallery


In the early years of World War II, Charlotte Salomon—a 23-year-old Jewish artist from Berlin—fled to the south of France where she shut herself into a hotel room and spent two years feverishly painting the history of her life. She called this astounding body of 1,300 gouache paintings Life? or Theater?: A Play With Music. Through her operetta on paper, Salomon tells a compelling coming-of-age story set amidst increasing Nazi oppression. Shortly after completing Life? or Theater?, the pregnant 26-year-old was transported to Auschwitz and killed. Her singular creation and only major work survived and stands as a testament to her life and artistic vision.

This exhibition of nearly 300 paintings from Life? or Theater? offers a rare, first-hand opportunity to experience her amazing masterpiece.

Learn more about Life? or Theater? and view the entire work online >

View photos from the exhibition opening event on June 19 >

Charlotte Salomon: Life? or Theater? was organized by the Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam. Copyright holder is the Charlotte Salomon Foundation, Amsterdam. The local presentation of the exhibition has been made possible by the generous and visionary support of The Craig and Donna Bernfield Family Foundation, Norman and Virginia Bobins, Nathan and Alyse Mason Brill, and Nicor Gas. The Golder Family Foundation is lead sponsor for all Illinois Holocaust Museum special exhibitions. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

MUSEUM BLOG | Charlotte, A Visual Diary

Posted by Joel Cahen, Director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Amsterdam
Read more >



Second Floor Hall of Reflection Gallery

walterThe Hidden Children/Child Survivors Chicago group consists of local Jewish adults who were hidden during the Holocaust in order to survive. Like other child survivors, they are the last generation to have witnessed the Holocaust.

Each panel in this exhibition represents one of the twenty-four authors of the book Out of Chaos: Hidden Children Remember the Holocaust, published by Northwestern University Press. In the book, photographs accompany each of their personal stories and anecdotes which relate to their lives in Europe during the war.

This exhibition was generously underwritten by Olga M. Weiss.




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