By Mark Hallum
The Kupferberg Holocaust Center at 222-05 56th Ave. in Bayside is showcasing a new exhibit which illustrates the struggle of women in the face of mass violence and genocide through video and photography.
“Women at the Frontline of Mass Violence and Genocide,” in partnership with global human rights organization Yahad-In Unam, made its U.S. premier Monday and will run through Sept. 15.
The exhibition gives visual evidence from over a decade of Yahad-In Unam’s investigations and interviews with women who have experienced tragedy from Jewish Holocaust of Eastern Europe carried out by the Nazis, the extermination of Roma by the Third Reich, the indigenous women under attack during the Guatemalan conflict of the ‘80s and the stories of Yazidi women who escaped the violence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Yahad-In Unum, founded in 2004 by Father Patrick Desbois, is a French organization dedicated to identifying and documenting World War II killing sites against Jews and Gypsies throughout Eastern Europe and studying genocidal practices,
It features 19 photographs and video testimonies of female victims between World War II and today.
“Women at the Frontline of Mass Violence and Genocide” shows a side of mass violence rarely told solely from the perspective of its female victims.
“We are pleased to host this show, which complements our center’s focus on the importance of gender in understanding global genocide from the 20th century on,” said Dr. Dan Leshem, director of the Kupferberg Holocaust Center.
A special panel discussion will be held Aug. 28 at the Kupferberg Center at 1 p.m. with founder and Executive Director of Remember the Women Institute Rochelle Saidel, Associate Professor of Sociology Amy Traver, and the Director of Research Center of Yahad-In Unam Patrice Bensimon.
“From our investigations into the victims of genocide and mass violence, Yahad has seen that women have suffered in a specific way: as victims of sexual violence, forced abortion, sterilization, or sexual slaves,” explained Bensimon. “Our mission with this collection is to give a voice to these women, and in doing so, to give them back the dignity that was stripped from them. Violence against women during mass killings and genocide is an issue in its own right that needs to be further studied by scholars and better known by the public at large. We also want to show that the lessons from World War II have not been heeded, and genocide and mass violence continue into the present with no sign of slowing down.”
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall