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Resistance and Rescue: Denmark and the Holocaust exhibition opens at the George Eastman Museum

The exhibition will be on view through October 1


Rochester, N.Y., June 13, 2023— The George Eastman Museum announced today the opening of Resistance and Rescue: Denmark and the Holocaust, an exhibition featuring American photographer Judy Glickman Lauder’s portraits of Danes who participated in rescuing Jews from deportation by Germany during World War II—and of Jews who were rescued. The portraits, taken in the early 1990s, are each accompanied by the story of the individual’s experience. The exhibition will be presented in the museum’s new Gallery Obscura through October 1.

The German occupation of Denmark began in April 1940. Unlike in other countries, the Danish government was allowed to continue to control its domestic affairs. For the next three years, Danish Jews were not required to register their property, identify themselves based on their religion, or give up their homes and businesses. The Jewish community continued to function and hold religious services.

Then, in August 1943, the German military commander in Denmark declared martial law and took control over the Danish military and police forces. The German civilian administrator soon initiated a proposal to capture and deport Danish Jews. Some German officials warned non-Jewish Danes, who in turn alerted the Jewish community.

Danish authorities, Jewish community leaders, and countless private citizens mobilized a massive operation in response. The Danish resistance, assisted by its citizens, organized a rescue operation that helped hide Jews and move them to the coast, where fishermen ferried them to neutral Sweden. In just a few weeks, about 7,200 Jews and 700 of their non-Jewish relatives traveled to safety in Sweden. In all, Danes rescued more than 90% of the country’s Jewish residents from German deportation, brutal internment and starvation, and systemic murder.

“The freedom and then heroic rescue of the Jews in Denmark are exemplars of the necessity in every society of respect for those different from ourselves and the imperative of moral courage in protecting those vulnerable to discrimination and acts of hate,” stated Dr. Bruce Barnes, the Ron and Donna Fielding Director of the George Eastman Museum. “From 2015 to 2021, recorded hate crimes in the United States—most based on race—increased 37%. Between 2020 and 2022, incidents of antisemitic assault and vandalism in the US spiked by 78%. Countering these trends requires education against bigotry, cross-cultural engagement, advocacy, and, ultimately, moral courage.”

Judy Glickman Lauder is an internationally recognized photographer, humanitarian, and philanthropist. Her photographs related to the Holocaust were published in the monograph Beyond the Shadows: The Holocaust and the Danish Exception (Aperture Foundation, 2018). These photographs are the subject of two traveling exhibitions—Holocaust: The Presence of the Past and Resistance and Rescue: Denmark’s Response to the Holocaust—which have been presented at institutions around the world. Other works by the artist are collected in Upon Reflection: Photographs by Judy Ellis Glickman (2012).

Glickman Lauder will come to the Dryden Theatre on Thursday, September 14 to discuss her work related to the Holocaust and to the Danish rescue of Jews. Author, historian, and human rights leader Judith Goldstein will also participate in the discussion.

Resistance and Rescue: Denmark and the Holocaust is sponsored by Drs. Bruce Barnes and Joseph Cunningham, in memory of Moïshé and Rivelé Sztrymfman, who were deported from France and killed at Auschwitz, and in honor of Héna Sztulman, who bravely, steadfastly, and selflessly rescued and protected their son, Isaac.

About the George Eastman Museum
Founded in 1947, the George Eastman Museum is the world’s oldest photography museum and one of the largest film archives in the United States, located on the historic Rochester estate of entrepreneur and philanthropist George Eastman, the pioneer of popular photography. Its holdings comprise more than 400,000 photographs, 28,000 motion picture films, the world’s preeminent collection of photographic and cinematographic technology, one of the leading libraries of books related to photography and cinema, and extensive holdings of documents and other objects related to George Eastman. As a research and teaching institution, the Eastman Museum has an active publishing program and, its L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation’s graduate program (a collaboration with the University of Rochester) makes critical contributions to film preservation at institutions around the world. For more information, visit eastman.org.

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ATTN. Media: High-res images and captions for Resistance and Rescue: Denmark and the Holocaust can be downloaded here: https://eastmanmuseum.box.com/v/resistanceandrescue.