Torn from home: remembrance of the Holocaust at Winchester School of Art Library


Lena Munday, our Principal Library Assistant, has curated a small exhibition of items from Winchester School of Art Library’s collections on this year’s theme for Holocaust Memorial Day . Here she reflects on some of the items she chose for the exhibition.


Torn from home is the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2019, and focuses upon the2 trauma of the enforced loss of a place to call home. ‘Home’ usually means a place of safety, comfort and security. HMD 2019, which falls on Sunday 27 January, will look at the plight of individuals, families and communities driven out of, or wrenched from their homes, because of persecution or the threat of genocide. There is emphasis also on the continuing difficulties survivors face as they try to find and build new homes when the genocide is over.

HMD 2019 also marks the 25th anniversary of the Genocide in Rwanda, which began in April 1994 and the 40th anniversary of the end of the Genocide in Cambodia, which ended in 1979. It is a time to remember these atrocities while drawing parallels with what we are experiencing in the world today, seeking opportunities individually to increase compassion and justice and kindness in our own communities and lives.

4Within the collection here at WSAL there are items that illustrate these themes. Doris Frohnapfel’s ‘Border Horizons’ is a compilation of photographs documenting life in Europe. A synagogue stands among the remains of a once thriving town where Jews had made their homes prior to the Holocaust, and the image of the construction of a memorial on the site of an extermination camp is chilling and evocative.

  • 1The book ‘Anne Frank Beyond the Diary: A Photographic Remembrance’ is a visual journey through the life of thirteen year old Anne Frank, torn from home in 1942, and forced into a hiding place alongside her family only to be discovered and sent to her death in 1944. Her story (and millions of others like her) shows the precariousness of the refugee’s situation, that a safe place may only be a safe place for a limited time, and yet there is the human urge to make a home there. The floorplan of the hiding place which Anne called ‘the Secret Annexe’ shows the restricted quarters the Frank family called home for two years.

Books by Boltanski and Anselm Kiefer alongside the works represented in the catalogue  ‘Textures of Memory: The Poetics of Cloth’  juxtapose the domestic symbolism of objects with notions of loss and despair. The idea that stories are woven into fabrics gives us a poignant insight into the loss of home theme, the content suggestive of the trauma caused by being ripped away from all that is safe and cherished and familiar.

Roland Fischer’s Refugees looks at the diversity and complexity of the refugee experience, the photographs of faces bring the humanity of the struggle to the surface, and deliver a raw, unfiltered message that sits in contrast to tabloid headlines and stereotypes.9

More material is available at WSAL and within the Parkes Institute , which is one of the world’s leading centres for the study of Jewish/non-Jewish relations.

The exhibition is open at Winchester School of Art Library from 25 January – 9 February 2019 during opening hours. Please see here for details.