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'Forgotten Survivors' Exhibit To Open At Jewish Home In Rockleigh

Ziska Shapiro, born in Ignalina, Lithuania in 1921, survived the war by fleeing to Russia in 1941 and joining the Red Army where he worked as a barber.
Ziska Shapiro, born in Ignalina, Lithuania in 1921, survived the war by fleeing to Russia in 1941 and joining the Red Army where he worked as a barber. Photo Credit: http://jewishhomefamily.org/JHR/

ROCKLEIGH, N.J. – A collection of portraits depicting the elderly Eastern European Jews who survived the Holocaust will be on display later this month in its new and permanent home, according to the Jewish Home Family.

The photograph collection, donated by photographer Doris Levin, is set to be unveiled at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 15 at the Jewish Home at Rockleigh, 10 Link Drive.

Levin has dedicated the exhibit to her daughter Melissa.

“Much has been written about the victims of the Nazi Holocaust, however, there is one group whose stories have rarely been told: the Jews of Eastern Europe who survived,” Levin said. “Most of them lost their families, friends, classmates and neighbors. Many of their homes were destroyed and they were forced into hiding or assimilating. Having lost their community and Jewish identity, it was miraculous that they survived at all.”

Levin said she collected the photographs and conducted interviews with the subjects by traveling to Lithuania and Belarus in 2001. She said many of those she photographed were living in a “constant struggle” and still coping with the economic hardships that struck after the fall of Communism.

“I posed three questions while shooting the portraits: "How did you survive during the War? Why did you choose to remain instead of immigrating elsewhere? Are you and your family able to celebrate a Jewish life today," Levin said.

The large-format photographs will be displayed permanently at the Jewish Home at Rockleigh and will be open for viewing by the public.

“We are so thrilled to have these photographs on permanent display at the Jewish Home,” said Jewish Home Family President and CEO Carol Silver Elliott. “Each of them tells a powerful story and we know that there will be many residents, staff and visitors who will find these photos thought provoking, moving and memorable.”

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