Auckland photographer Perry Trotter (left) and his son Ylia
(16) take a break from setting up the ''Shadows of Shoah''
exhibition at Lakes District Museum. Photo by Tracey
Haunting stories from survivors of the Holocaust will be
told in an exhibition which opens at the Lakes District Museum
in Arrowtown tonight.
''Shadows of Shoah'' is the work of Auckland photographer and
musician Perry Trotter and his wife Sheree, who have
interviewed and photographed more than 35 survivors in
Israel, Australia and New Zealand since 2008.
The Lakes District Museum will be the first venue in the
South Island to host the exhibition.
Mr Trotter told the Otago Daily Times he was ''deeply
concerned'' by anti-Semitism, something he had studied for a
long time from the perspective of a Christian.
''I'm very concerned much of the anti-Semitism over the last
1600 to 1800 years has been at the hands of people who
identified as Christian.''
During a trip to Israel with his wife in 2008, the couple
learnt there were several Holocaust survivors in the area and
asked to interview and photograph them, not knowing what they
would do with their material.
However, after returning to New Zealand the couple turned the
interviews and photos into three-minute vignettes telling the
experiences of survivors and began working on the ''Shadows
of Shoah'' exhibition.
''We wanted to communicate that in a way that will stick with
people who know nothing about the Holocaust.
''It's not what most people would think of in terms of an
''It's a self-contained exhibition about 8m in diameter. It's
dark, there are aluminium panels and high-definition
[screens] with projection and audio on a three-minute cycle.
''It's a very immersive ... moving experience.''
Stories included that of Roald Hoffmann (77), a theoretical
chemist who migrated to the United States in 1949 and went on
to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1981.
The man who went on to become a professor of humane letters
at Cornell University, in New York, was born into a Jewish
family in Poland and after Germany invaded the country and
occupied his town, his family was sent to a labour camp.
His family bribed guards to allow an escape and arranged for
5-year-old Roald, his mother, two uncles and an aunt to hide
in the attic and storeroom of the local schoolhouse. Roald
remained in hiding until he was 7. His father remained at the
labour camp but was killed by the Germans for his involvement
in a plot to arm prisoners.
In May 2012, Shadows of Shoah was incorporated as a
charitable trust which focuses on education concerning the
Holocaust and anti-Semitism. Later that year, the Raye
Freedman Trust agreed to support the construction of the
exhibition, officially opened by Prime Minister John Key in
January last year.
Since then, it had been taken around the North Island, being
exhibited at venues including the New Zealand Portrait
Gallery and the Waikato Museum.
Mr Trotter said the trust co-operated with the Jewish
Foundation of New Zealand, interviewing survivors visiting
New Zealand, while the foundation arranged for survivors to
speak to schools about their experiences.
The exhibition opens at 6pm today.