Stories of Survival: Object. Image. Memory.
July 19, 2018 – January 13, 2019

Stories of Survival is a landmark exhibit that showcases more than 60 never-before-seen personal items brought to America by Survivors of the Holocaust and genocide. Each artifact is dramatically showcased alongside oversized photographs by renowned documentarian Jim Lommasson with handwritten responses by Survivors or their family members.

The objects are as every day as a baby doll and a black suitcase and as symbolic as a young mother’s cookbook and a wedding announcement—saved by local Survivors from genocides around the world, including Armenia, Bosnia, Cambodia, Iraq, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Syria. 


Stories of Survival – Exhibition-Related Programs

Stories of Survival:  Object, Image, Memory
July 19, 6:30 – 8:00 PM

Meet the photographer and Museum Curator and participate in one-on-one discussions with local Survivors who donated their items to the exhibit.


Unlocking Holocaust-Era Family Records
July 29, 2:00 – 3:30 pm

Dr. Diane Afoumado, Chief of Research and Reference Branch, reveals how the Holocaust Survivors and Victims Resource Center staff at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum assist people from all over the world to find their families and learn their fates.

Community Partners:  Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois, Midwest Regional Office of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum


Bring Your Family Heirloom to Life
August 12, 1:30 – 3:00 pm

Treasured objects passed down through relatives remind us of shared traditions and culture. Bring a favorite family keepsake or a printed photo, and join master storyteller Susan Stone, who will help you create a work of art that tells a story. Recommended for families with kids ages 5-15.

Community Partners:  Apachi J Camp Rogers Park, Apachi J Camp Skokie, Evanston Public Library, Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois, Teen@JUF, Skokie Public Library, Springboard


A World Erased:  A Grandson’s Search for His Family’s Holocaust Secrets
September 27, 6:30 – 8:00 pm

After Noah Lederman shared aspects of his post-college travels in Poland with his survivor grandmother, memories she had buried for decades surfaced, enhancing his previously limited, PG-version of what she and his grandfather experienced during the Holocaust.  A book signing follows.

Community Partners:  Association of Descendants of the Shoah – Illinois; The Hillels of Illinois


Chicago Premiere – NANA
October 28, 2:00 – 4:30 pm

NANA is a feature-length transgenerational documentary. Filmmaker Serena Dyamant retraces the Auschwitz survival story of her grandmother, Maryla Michalowski-Dyamant. Along with her mother, Serena explores how Maryla’s fight against intolerance can continue to combat, intolerance, racism and antisemitism. A discussion with Serena Dyamant follows the screening.


U.S. Pre-Preview – The Good Nazi
November 4, 1:00 – 3:00 pm

“The Good Nazi” is a 50 minute television documentary that chronicles the scientific work of a joint US-Canadian-Israeli-Lithuanian research team in July, 2017 on a site, HKP 562, a Nazi labor camp on the outskirts of Vilnius where the largest number of Vilna Ghetto Jews survived thanks to the efforts of a compassionate Nazi Officer, Major Karl Plagge. Lead archaeologist for the project, Dr. Richard Freund of the University of Hartford, will provide insights.


Distorting the Memory of the Shoah – Mark Weitzman, Director of Government Affairs, Simon Wiesenthal Center
November 7, 7:00 – 8:30 pm

Those who seek to discredit the facts of the Holocaust are a clear and present danger to the memory of the Shoah. Mark Weitzman will discuss these attempts to distort or whitewash history, and what can be done to diminish their impact.


World Premiere – Object, Image, Memory
November/December TBD

An original play created and produced by Writers Theatre offering a mosaic narrative, weaving together survivor testimonies, historical elements and the stories of some of the objects featured in Stories of Survival, will be performed.


ABC7 | Illinois Holocaust Museum opens ‘Stories of Survival’ exhibit 
Watch online>

Chicago Sun Times | ‘Stories of Survival’ detailed by mementos, photos, family messages in exhibit 
Read online>

Chicago Tribune | Precious possessions: The genocide survivors who kept them tell their stories.
Read online>

Make It Better | 5 Reasons Not to Miss the New Illinois Holocaust Museum Exhibit: Stories of Survival
Read online>

Skokie Review| Holocaust Museum exhibit tells ‘Stories of Survival: Object. Image. Memory.’
Read online>

Crain’s Chicago Business | The best exhibits in Chicago this summer
Read online>


Click here to access press release, photos, fact sheet, and more.


Stories of Survival: Object. Image. Memory. is a project of the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center and photographer Jim Lommasson.

Presenting Sponsor: Stories of Survival: Object. Image. Memory. is supported by the Breakthrough Fund: An Innovation of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago. 

Supporters: Lester and Edward Anixter Family Foundation; The Chicago Community Trust; Women’s Leadership Committee of Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center 

Contributors: Abraham and Irene Horn; Nicor Gas 

Additional Funders: George and Judith Giddens; Flyback Productions; The Golder Family Foundation supports all Illinois Holocaust Museum special exhibitions. 

Community Partners: Armenian National Committee of Illinois; Association of Descendants of the Shoah-Illinois; Ayual Community Development Association; Bosnian-American Genocide Institute and Education Center; Cambodian Association of Illinois/National Cambodian Heritage Museum & Killing Fields Memorial; Center for Forgiveness and Peace; Chicago Association for the Lost Boys of Sudan; Chicago South Sudanese Community Center; Iraqi Mutual Aid Society; Roosevelt University Gage Gallery; Sudanese Community Association of Illinois; Sheérit HaPleitah of Metropolitan Chicago 




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