It’s springtime in other parts of the world, but Chicago is still dark and grim. This is a good week for going to a museum and getting all existential and gloomy.
As it happens, there’s a unique chronicler of the Holocaust coming to town who fits the bill. On Tuesday, May 16, Father Patrick Desbois, whose organization Yahad-In Unum, identifies all the locations in Eastern Europe where Nazis held mass shootings, will be speaking at “Uncovering the Truth: A Lost Chapter of Holocaust History.” The event is a benefit for the United States Holocaust Museum.
Desbois, a French Catholic priest, is author of the book The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest’s Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews. The book chronicles a part of the Shoah that took place outside the concentration camps—areas of Eastern Europe where the Nazis rounded up Jews in fields and and shot dead by the thousands. Dubois and his group identify these sites and visit them to collect artifacts and conduct interviews with eyewitnesses, which are recorded on video. These videos will be preserved in the museum. This event begins at 6:30 at Venue One in the West Loop; reserve your spot here.
The Northwestern University Block Gallery’s current exhibit, “If You Remember, I’ll Remember,” is not specifically Jewish, despite its title, but it does engage with some of the great injustices of American history, which should remind us that others suffer, too. Six artists use historical documents, photographs, and audio from oral histories to create artwork around the idea of remembering and commemorating.
This may also be a good time to check out “#Ai Weiwei” at the Museum of Contemporary Photography; this is the first time the Chinese dissident’s work has been on display in Chicago, and it contains selections both from his professional work and from his Instagram account.