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How It Is, But How It Should Be: An Imagined Life Outside Of Gurs

Northern Trust Gallery
April 28 – October 27, 2019

While imprisoned in Camp de Gurs in unoccupied France in 1941, a young artist named Trudl Besag made an illustrated booklet and gave it to a fellow prisoner, Rosa Hirschbruch, for her 65th birthday. The booklet, entitled So ist es, aber, so soll’s sein (How it is, but how it should be), vividly illuminates the daily life in Gurs, presents an artful and hopeful response to imprisonment, and captures the will of these prisoners to continue to dream of another life.

The exhibition How it is, but how it should be reproduces a rare and vivid artifact from our Museum collection, with translations by the artist. Additional elements tell the broader story of Camp de Gurs and of these two women.


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