Words, Music, Memory: (Re)presenting Voices of the Holocaust

Illustrations of writers who witnessed the Holocaust
Illustrations by Julia Guevara and Martha Hemingway

Commemoration is a process that involves witness, preservation, interpretation, and performance. This process calls upon human creativity, commitment, emotional connection, and contemporary context. Literature, music, and performance work together to open a window across space and time for generations to connect with one another. 

This ten-panel traveling exhibit and accompanying digital gallery guide highlights the links along the chain of commemoration that connect the past and the present and generation to generation. While the panels focus on the words of writers who witnessed the Holocaust, the gallery guide includes biographies of the writers, sketches by the panel illustrators, information about musical and dramatic pieces adapted from the writers' works, and interviews with composers, lyricists, performers, and producers. It also provides visitors with opportunities to access performance videos and share their perspectives.

Exhibit Supplements: 

Click here to access the Gallery Guide!

Click here to access the audio guide for the exhibit with transcriptions in English and German.

Produced in partnership with the KSU Bailey School of Music and soprano Sheena Ramirez of the James Madison University (JMU) School of Music, the exhibit opened on September 19, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. in conjunction with a lecture/performance featuring the Holocaust compositions of Dr. Laurence Sherr and Lori Laitman. Click here for a concert flyer and here for the program. 

Five people in front of exhibit panels.
Words, Music, Memory Exhibit and Performance Collaborators

Words, Music, Memory remained on display at the KSU Center through November 9, 2021, when it accompanied a closing concert in memory of Kristallnacht at Morgan Hall at 7:30 p.m. Click here for more details. Click here for a press release and here to view the concert program. You can watch a video of that performance here:

Click here to read about the Words, Music, Memory performances in ArtsKSU Magazine, 2021-2022. 

On December 5, the exhibit traveled to James Madison University where it accompanied Sheena Ramirez's DMA recital performance. Watch a video of that performance below:

The exhibit was on display at the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts at James Madison University (JMU) through January 28, 2022 when it accompanied an encore performance of Lori Laitman and Laurence Sherr's compositions in conjunction with a day-long residency for composer Lori Laitman sponsored by the Cohen Center for the Humanities. Click here to learn more about JMU's programs for Holocaust Remembrance Week in 2022. 

Five people stand near the outside wall of an auditorium.

Click here or listen below to the "Conversations at the Cohen Center" podcast featuring an interview with project creators Adina Langer and Sheena Ramirez. 

2023 - 2024 Travel and Performance Schedule:

Oberlin, Ohio

Words, Music, Memory will be on display at the Mary Church Terrell Main Library at Oberlin College during October and November, 2023. The Oberlin program will culminate with a lecture performance on November 16, 2023, featuring soprano Sheena Ramirez, oboist Courtney Miller, and pianist Daniel Michalak. Curator Adina Langer will provide commentary during the performance and also lecture to students about Holocaust commemoration and curating traumatic histories.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

From Oberlin, Words, Music, Memory will travel to Wake Forest University where it will be on display at the Lam Museum of Anthropology from January - March, 2024. Prior to the arrival of the exhibition, the Lam will host an educator workshop on teaching the Holocaust in November 2023. A commemorative program featuring soprano Sheena Ramirez, oboist Courtney Miller, pianist Suzanne Polak, and curator Adina Langer is scheduled to take place on February 11, 2024.