The exhibition “Long-lost Faces” is based on the project “Help Search for Neighbours who Disappeared”, which was launched in December 2001 by the Jewish Museum in Prague. The aim of this project was to approach as many people as possible with a request to help out in the gathering of documents on the wartime and pre-war lives of Jews who were racially persecuted during World War II. The Museum contacted the public through a series of media appeals for assistance in the search for mementos, photographs and other material that recall their lives, faces and fates.
The response from the public was overwhelming, with hundreds of related visits to the Museum in the course of two years. Often, very valuable material was handed over to staff at the Holocaust department. Many people donated documents to the Museum, while others enabled them to be copied.
Some of the donors found out more detailed information about the fate of their family and friends while visiting the Museum, where they had the opportunity to access a computer index with basic personal data on the victims and information on their deportation to Terezín and further east. Many faces in photographs were identified only on the basis of collating information from the database, documents and the reminiscences of donors. In the course of this search, donors heard, often for the first time, about certain lesser-known concentration camps, ghettos and extermination centres in eastern Poland, the Baltic States and Belarus.
In this way we managed to bring together not only documents of an official nature, such as public notices, bulletins and forms from the period of the Nazi occupation, but also a wide range of personal items – portraits, family and school photographs, personal documents, birth and wedding certificates, reports, identification cards, passports and membership cards, as well as official and illegal correspondence from home, Terezín and other Nazi camps and ghettos. Valuable sources for illustrating the everyday life of Jewish inmates also include diaries, scrapbooks, poems and personal narratives. There is also a completely separate group of memorial objects.
All these documents are being stored in the Holocaust department where they will be available for researchers and historians and, gradually, will also be used in the course of other visits.
The exhibition “Long-lost Faces” acquaints the public only with a fraction of what has been brought together as part of the project. The exhibition curators have tried to create a cross-section that will present the variety of the material and, at the same time, recall the life stories of people who, until the onset of persecution, lived ordinary family lives, enjoyed friendships, love and pleasure, but also had everyday worries, studied, worked, and had good times in general… Without reason, their fates were severed and, in many cases, their children were not allowed to reach adulthood.
“Long-lost Faces” was the Jewish Museum’s most visited temporary exhibition in 2003, attracting on average about 110 people each day. It also received highly positive coverage in the media. At present, the exhibition is being presented at different venues across the Czech Republic in accordance with an exhibition timeframe that takes into account the interests and possibilities of individual institutions. We are delighted that it has been on view at elementary and high schools, in addition to museum and cultural institutions (such as Děčín, Prostějov and Šumperk museums). The exhibition is available on loan free of charge; only the costs related to transport, packing and installation are paid by the exhibition holder.
Please contact us if you would like this exhibition to be held in your region. We will do all we can, once we have processed your application. Through our Education and Culture Centre, we can also organize lectures to be held at your venue.
Jewish Museum in Prague
U Staré školy 1
110 00, Prague 1
tel: (+420) 221 711 585
|Introductory text for display panel||50 x 100 cm|
|School photos for display panel||100 x 140 cm|
|Photo gallery – two display panels||115 x 250 cm|
|Both panels must be exhibited next to each other||230 x 250 cm|
|53 display panels:
|23 large||70 x 95 cm|
|30 small||54 x 70 cm|
|+ captions for each panel||10-17 (various height)