CEDAR FALLS – One of the largest collective acts of resistance in a Nazi-occupied country during World War II is the focus of a photographic exhibition opening Friday at the Hearst Center for the Arts.
“Resistance and Rescue,” featuring photographs by internationally known photographer and philanthropist Judy Ellis Glickman, will be unveiled in a public reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the center, 304 W. Seerley Blvd.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the evacuation of thousands of Danish Jews to neutral Sweden by members of the Danish Resistance Movement. In October 1943, Nazi Germany occupied Denmark and Adolf Hitler ordered the arrest and deportation of Danish Jews. The resistance and Danish citizens covertly evacuated 7,220 of Denmark’s 7,800 Jews and 686 non-Jewish spouses by sea to Sweden.
Glickman’s images relate the experiences of many survivors, says Heather Skeen, cultural programs supervisor and director at the Hearst Center. “The photographs are highly personal, and I wasn’t expecting that. They tell an uplifting story about how ordinary Danish people hid these people in fishing boats, kayaks and row boats and bravely carried them to Sweden, rescuing their Jewish population from the Holocaust,” she explains.
About 500 Jews were captured and sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. All but 51 survived the Holocaust because of pressure exerted by Danish officials, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Glickman’s exhibition was created by the Florida Holocaust Museum and will continue through Nov. 25.
The center is collaborating with the UNI Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education to present the photographic exhibition and a series of free public programs.
“It’s important for the Hearst to expand opportunities that people have to interact with culture and history and broaden discussions, not just on the visual arts but on cultural issues,” Skeen says.
Stephen Gaies, director of the UNI Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education, first saw the exhibit in 2007 at the Florida Holocaust Museum. “I was very moved. I knew something about the story of the rescue of the Jews of Denmark, but the photographs told the story in such a powerful way. When the center was created in 2010, I had in the back of my mind that I wanted to bring the exhibit to UNI,” he says.
He believes the photographs will have an impact on viewers. “It tells a story most people don’t know about the Holocaust, and it has a lot to say about our responsibilities to our fellow citizens. The people spread the word and warned their Danish acquaintances not to go to work, to find a place to hide. We can’t all be heroes, but you don’t have to do much to do a lot.”
At 7 p.m. Oct. 16, documentary filmmaker Karon Cantor will introduce and screen her documentary, “The Danish Solution.” The film explores how the Jews of Denmark escaped falling victim to Hitler’s Third Reich. Her visit and the screening are sponsored by the Dorothy Pearlman Finkel Film Series and the UNI Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education. A Q&A session will follow the screening.
Steen Metz will be featured from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 30. His presentation, “My Story: Surviving the Holocaust,” details his experience as an 8-year-old boy torn from his home in Odense, Denmark, and deported with his parents to Theresienstadt in 1943.
Two films will be screened in November. “Miracle at Midnight” will be shown at 7 p.m. Nov. 1 and “Across the Waters” at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Nov. 15.