Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Collections and Exhibitions News: The Triumphs and Struggles of Liberation


January 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day—the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In this month's newsletter, we highlight objects from the Museum's Permanent Collection that speak to the complex emotions of liberation as well as the struggles endured in the aftermath of the Holocaust.


ARTIFACT spotlight


Frania Bratt Blum's Liberation Dress


Frania Bratt Blum's Liberation Dress
Gift of Frania Bratt Blum. 7.87.

What goes through a young woman’s mind when she sews her own dress? For 27-year-old Frania Bratt in early May 1945, in a satellite of Dachau Concentration Camp, near Munich, Germany, we may guess: a sense of freedom and a renewal of her life as a human being, a Jew, and a woman.

On April 29, the camp was liberated by the Seventh Army of the United States Armed Forces. Like many of the 67,000 people packed into Dachau’s barracks by hastily retreating Nazis in the last days of the war, Frania Bratt had survived several other camps. For more than sixteen months, she had worn only the standard inmate uniform, but slowly, as her sense of individuality was beginning to return, she thought about sewing a dress. She had before her bolts of cheerful blue-and-white-checked fabric that had been provided by the U.S. liberators.





FEATURED stories


John Beckett 1945 diary segment

Documenting Ohrdruf: The 1945 Diary of US Soldier John Beckett

John W. Beckett was one of the American soldiers who liberated Ohrdruf, a subcamp of Buchenwald on April 4, 1945. There, he was confronted with evidence of once unimaginable crimes, the horror of which he grapples with in his war diaries.


Post-Liberation Battles: Surviving Typhus

Rita and Manfred Grunbaum not only endured multiple concentration camps and horrific transportations, but, like many other survivors, a deadly disease as well. With liberation came a new set of struggles.



Anita Budding's Liberation Day Diary Entry

A Liberation Day Diary Entry

Anita (née Meyer) Budding kept a diary recounting the passing days while she was in hiding in southern Holland. Her May 5, 1945 entry starts with the words Hoep, Hoep, Hoera—Dutch for hip, hip, hooray! This is the day the Netherlands was liberated from German occupation.


Group wedding, Lodz Ghetto

A Key to Survival in the Lodz Ghetto

In January of 1945, Rywka, Juda, and Israel Putersznyt, together with 21 others, discovered a large hidden closet within a closet in the Lodz Ghetto. After three days without moving, they heard a family friend, who had been hiding in another bunker, shout, “Putersznyt, we are free. The Russians are here!” 







Boris Lurie: Nothing To Do But To Try


A first-of-its-kind exhibition on the 20th-century artist and Holocaust survivor, Boris Lurie: Nothing To Do But To Try presents a portrait of an artist reckoning with devastating trauma, haunting memories, and an elusive, lifelong quest for freedom.





ask C&E


Question: What happens after I donate an object to the Museum's Permanent Collection?

After an object is accepted for inclusion in the Museum’s Permanent Collection—following thorough research and approval by an interdisciplinary group of Collections Professionals—a lengthy process ensues to ensure that the object is properly documented, catalogued, condition checked, photographed, and housed.

Upon entering the Collection, objects are assigned a unique identification number based on the year and order of acquisition, which allows for their location to be tracked at all times. They are then catalogued; basic information—object type, title, date, maker, place made, materials, dimensions, description, credit line, notes, and location—is recorded in both physical and digital files. The objects are then condition reported, creating a timestamp of their condition at the time of their inclusion into the Collection. Deeds are then countersigned by the Vice President of Collections and Exhibitions, and a copy is returned to the donor by mail. We then digitize the donated material by capturing and editing high resolution images of the objects. Objects are then stored in acid free, archival boxes and often require the construction of specialty permanent housing.

The process of acquiring objects into the Museum’s Permanent Collection takes time, and the overall care and preservation of these objects remains ongoing so that they may be preserved for generations to come.

Want to learn more about Collections & Exhibitions? Please email us at





Boris Lurie: Nothing To Do But To Try is made possible by The Knapp Family Foundation, Patricia Askwith Kenner & Family, and other generous donors.

Special thanks to the Boris Lurie Art Foundation for its commitment to this presentation.