Alliance Française d’Atlanta and the Goethe-Zentrum Atlanta in partnership with the Consulate General of France, the German Consulate General, the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust, and the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum host the “Hélène Berr, A Stolen Life” exhibit created, designed, and circulated by the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris, France.
The exhibit will be on display from January 22 through March 15, 2014 at Colony Square, Plaza Level, Suite 561 in Midtown Atlanta.
Atlanta, GA – Alliance Française & the Goethe-Zentrum will be inaugurating the “Hélène Berr, A Stolen Life” exhibit on Wednesday, January 22 from 7:00–9:00pm. Click here for an invitation and to RSVP.
Invited to deliver the opening address are Mr. Denis Barbet, Consul General of France in Atlanta, Mr. Christoph Sander, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Atlanta, and Mr. Jacques Fredj, Executive Director of Mémorial de la Shoah. Introductory presentations will take place from 7:00–8:00pm in the auditorium of the Alliance Française d’Atlanta & the Goethe-Zentrum Atlanta, followed by a reception and visit of the exhibition from 8:00–9:00pm which takes place in their location at 1197 Peachtree Street, Colony Square, Plaza Level, Suite 561 in Midtown Atlanta.
About the exhibit
Alliance Française d’Atlanta and the Goethe-Zentrum Atlanta are united in their mission of cultural and language exchange in the Atlanta community. The Hélène Berr exhibit is an example of the diverse cultural programming on which these organizations partner. 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty, or Treaty of Friendship between France and Germany. It is in this spirit of partnerhsip that the Hélène Berr exhibition is brought to Atlanta.
Writing the entire reality and the tragic things we live, given all their bare seriousness and without deforming them with words, that is a very difficult task which requires a constant effort.
Almost two years after the publication of the Journal, written between 1942 and 1944, the Mémorial de la Shoah chose to return to the tragic destiny of Hélène Berr, a young Parisian girl deported to Auschwitz in 1944. Expanding beyond the strict frame of the journal and the personality of Hélène Berr, this exhibit elaborates on the
background of the Occupation and tackles more largely the persecution of the Jews in France.
Hélène Berr’s official portrait, 1942 © Mémorial de la Shoah – Coll. Mariette Job
A student of English, Hélène Berr was 21 years old when she began writing her Journal. The year was 1942 and the anti-Jewish laws of Vichy started to radically change her life little by little. Until March of 1944, the date of her arrest, she kept her Journal on a daily basis. Deported to Auschwitz with her parents, she died in 1945 at Bergen-Belsen, a few days before the camp’s liberation. This text, of an exceptional literary quality, a subtle account of what France and Paris of the Occupation were like, reveals a real premonition of the inevitable, as the last lines of her Journal evoke: “Horror, Horror, Horror.”
In a deeply moving written account, this text mixes the daily experience of the unbearable with the ideal world of letters, alternating in every moment between hope and desperation. Regarding wearing the yellow star, Hélène wrote: "My God, I would not believe that this would be so hard. I have had a lot of courage all day. I kept my head high, and I looked at peoples’ faces so well as they averted their eyes. But it is hard. Otherwise, the majority of people do not look. The most painful part is meeting other people who wear it."
For sixty years, the manuscript of Hélène Berr’s diary did not exist except as a painful family heritage. One day in 2002, Mariette Job, Hélène’s niece, decided to entrust the manuscript with the Mémorial de la Shoah. Published by Tallandier in January of 2008, the diary met an immense success from the very beginning of its publication.
Through this exhibition, the Mémorial de la Shoah offers the public the oppportunity to discover several family documents archived at the museum’s documentation center, other archives that broaden the historical context, as well as reproductions of the original manuscript and an interactive map of Paris.
This exhibition, curated by Karen Taieb and Sophie Nagiscarde, was designed, created, and circulated by
Mémorial de la Shoah (Paris, France), and made possible through the generous support of SNCF.
From I-85 North or South take exit 84, 14th Street to Peachtree Street.
From I-75 North or South take exit 250 to 14th Street towards Peachtree Street.
Parking is available at Colony Square, please bring your parking ticket for validation of up to 4 hours of parking after 5pm. The exhibition is located on the Plaza level.