Robert Jan van Pelt shares both a strong professional and personal connection to an upcoming New York City exhibit that tells the story of the unspeakable horrors of Auschwitz.
The Waterloo School of Architecture professor is chief curator of Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away., a comprehensive exhibit dedicated to the history of Auschwitz and its role in the Holocaust. Featuring more than 700 original objects and 400 photographs from over 20 international institutions, the display is the largest of its kind in North America.
Among the items are two documents and a yellow star issued in the early 1940s identifying van Pelt’s grandmother, Jenny Hanf, as Jewish. The collection also includes false identity papers on which Hanf’s name and other details were forged to protect her from being captured.
The exhibit features 10 life-sized replicas, including key elements of a gas chamber, built by Waterloo School of Architecture students.
Intended to educate people about the atrocities of the Holocaust, Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away. opens on May 8 — the date of the Nazi surrender in 1945 — and will stay open until at least the beginning of 2020. Following the New York presentation, the exhibit will tour other cities around the world. Full story