Sep 19, 2006

Women of the Holocaust display at Lynchburg College

by Jennifer Schmidt
Black and white portraits of older women hang from the walls of the Dillard Fine Arts Hall on the campus of Lynchburg College. Initially, they appear somewhat plain and unassuming. There are no larger signs proclaiming the area to be part of an exhibit or an art show, only a small blip on the bulletin board that states, “Women of the Holocaust – Dillard Gallery.”   

With Upon closer inspection, it becomes apparent that each of the thirteen 13 women profiled has a descriptive word attached to her name. One such portrait read, “Alexandra: A Story of Action” while another stated, “Lusía: A Story of Boldness.” Framing each portrait are the details of those stories – tales of Auschwitz where five of the women were kept during World War II, tales of secluded lives in the Jewish ghetto and tales of escaping Europe as refugees seeking safety in America. 

The “Women of the Holocaust” were truly amazing women that overcame incredible odds, not only to in survivinge their experiences, but to also in rebuilding their lives from the broken pieces that were leftremained after the war. Though the Nazi movement originated in Germany, all of Europe was directly affected, as is — clearly evidenced by the nine different countries represented by among the women. In the exhibit, Bella was a Jewish dressmaker from Greece and, yet Regina was a young girl growing up in Hungary, and yet both were eventually shipped to Auschwitz. The devastation wrought in the lives of just these thirteen 13 women is astounding, and reading their stories is a humbling experience. 

Kimberly Davies, a freshman at Lynchburg College, spent some time looking at the exhibit and was amazed touched byat what she read. “I was shocked,” she said., “All of those women managed to get through so much: losing their families, having children killed and having to move.” 

The stated purpose of the exhibit is to reveal to the current generation of women what their predecessors experienced and overcame. As Davies realized for the first time what it meant to be a woman living in Europe during WWII, the Center for Holocaust Humanity Education desires that all women of today connect to the older generation. 

Proverbs 31:10, which reads, “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her worth is far above rubies,” is printed over the Center’s statement of purpose that speaks of the women of the Holocaust. The statement from the Center reads, “Are we listening? Do we hear their stories of valor? Do we value them ‘above rubies’ as the book of Proverbs commands?” 

The beauty of this exhibit lies in the dignity that each woman possesses. Every portrait and story is unique, thus allowing each woman to once again regain the identity and individuality that the war stole from them.

“Women of the Holocaust” will be on display in the Dillard Gallery until October 8, and is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (until 8 p.m. on Wednesday) and Sunday between 1 and 5 For more information call 434-544-8349. Lynchburg College is 2 two miles off of U.S. 501 -N on Lakeside Drive.

Contact Jennifer Schmidt at

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