Monday, October 25, 2010

Darkness into Life: Remembering the Holocaust

A poignant exhibit opens today in the gallery of Parnell Memorial Library in Montevallo.

For Birmingham residents Max Herzel, Ruth Siegler, Martin Aaron, and Riva Mirsch, their memories of the Holocaust are a complicated patchwork of loss, suffering, grief, bravery, and hope. These men and women, along with five others, survived the horrors of the Holocaust and came to settle in Birmingham. Their stories are told in Darkness into Life, an exhibit of original paintings and photographs on display at Parnell Memorial Library Gallery October 25 through December 4. The exhibit, produced and sponsored by the Birmingham Holocaust Education Committee, is co-sponsored by Parnell Memorial Library and the Montevallo Arts Council.

Darkness into Life was created by artist Mitzi J. Levin and photographer Becky Seitel, who spent hours with each of the survivors to better comprehend what they experienced as children and young people during the Holocaust. Levin's paintings focus on the survivors' lives before and during the Holocaust; Seitel's photographs depict the survivors' present-day lives in Birmingham. Montevallo resident Deborah Layman is the the education and publicity coordinator for the Montevallo exhibit.

Former MHS English teacher Jane Clayton has arranged for every class from Montevallo High School and Montevallo Middle School to have docent-guided tours when the students visit the exhibit. Teachers will be given follow-up classroom activities and resources to further explore issues raised by the exhibit.

A special program and reception at Parnell Memorial Library on Sunday, November 7, at 2:00 P. M. will feature traditional Jewish music played by a Klezmer band organized by Dr. Alan Goldspiel, Chair of the Music Department at the University of Montevallo.

The exhibit is free and open to the public during library hours. Guided tours for groups are available by appointment. For information, contact deborah.layman(at)

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