Construction Brings Life to Mapping Our Tears Project
CINCINNATI- The Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education at Hebrew Union
College-Jewish Institute of Religion is proud to announce that the final stage
of construction for Mapping Our Tears is nearing completion. The exhibition
resembles an attic full of fascinating memorabilia and has rapidly taken on
life and character on the Gallery level of the Skirball Museum located in Mayerson
Hall on the HUC-JIR campus. The construction will be completed this summer,
ready to open its doors in the new school year to thousands of visitors.
An impressive team of experts was assembled to create this unique exhibition
that is uplifting instead of somber. The award-winning Cincinnati-based firm
of Jack Rouse Associates is the creative designers for the exhibition. “It’s
an honor to have the opportunity to work on a project like this,” said
Jack Rouse, CEO of Jack Rouse Associates. “The courage displayed by these
survivors, as well as their love and compassion has touched all of the designers
and producers here at JRA. We must never forget these stories.”
The Columbus firm SOS, headed by Jeff Scheiman, is responsible for the videography.
Kesher of the Inclusion Network has approved all aspects of the design for accessibility.
Mapping Our Tears is a permanent, interactive, environmental theatre that resembles
a 1930’s European attic. The heart of the exhibit focuses on testimonies
of local Holocaust survivors, refugees, rescuers, and liberators. The attic
also contains stories on the thematic values of love, loss, and courage experienced
by local Holocaust survivors, and a computer corner. It is an engaging learning
environment that approaches the Holocaust through the eyes of Jews and non-Jews
addressing issues of social injustice and moral concerns.
The testimonies of the survivors are presented in pairs. All action is totally
generated by the survivors’ stories. Their stories, the lighting, sounds,
and artifacts act together to tell their testimony. The lights and sounds make
the attic come alive. For example, the testimony of Roma Kaltman, a teen in
Poland when the war broke out, features an armoire like the one she hid in as
she tried to escape the transport to Auschwitz. “This aspect of what Tom
Brokaw described as the Greatest Generation has never been told in such a compelling
way,” said Dr. Racelle Weiman, Director of The Center for Holocaust and
Humanity Education. “These are stories about intense acts of personal
faith, hope, drive, perseverance, triumph of survival, rescue, and renewal.
Most of these almost-lost stories are revealed to the public for the very first
The exhibit will evolve as additional testimonies are gathered. Future stories
include those told by liberators and rescuers.
Mapping Our Tears is made possible through the generous support of our Founding
Benefactors: Cinergy, the parent company of CG&E, Federated Department Stores,
Inc., Frisch’s Restaurant, Inc., The Kroger Company, Procter & Gamble
Company, Time Warner Cable, and US Bank. “This project is a tribute to
the power and esteem of the survivor’s testimony,” said Gail Mermelstein,
Project Director. The exhibition will serve as the focal point and catalyst
for educational workshops, teaching curriculum, school and civic programming.
The exhibit will also be a valuable resource for families and for the region
that extends far beyond Cincinnati. It is a model for other communities worldwide.
For more information about Mapping Our Tears call The Center at 513-221-1875
ext. 355 or email CHHE@huc.edu. A ceremonial opening is planned for the beginning
of the school year.
The Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education is an education and community
resource center located on the Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish
Institute of Religion. It offers workshops, professional training seminars,
and graduate courses. Teaching Holocaust Studies from academic and theological
perspectives, The Center promotes tolerance and social justice in a broad range
of civic and cultural concerns. Mapping Our Tears is located in the Skirball
Museum in Mayerson Hall on the HUC-JIR campus, located at 3101 Clifton Avenue
in Cincinnati, OH.