15 March 2011

New York: 'Jews of the Balkans," preserving memories, March 31

The Central Europe Center for Research and Documentation - known as Centropa - is headed by Edward Serotta in Vienna, Austria. Serotta informed Tracing the Tribe about recent events.

Serotta will speak on the Jews of the Balkans talk at the Center for Jewish History on March 31 in New York City, presented by the American Sephardi Federation and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. The title is "Images of a Lost World: Pictures and stories of Balkan Sephardic life from the Centropa.org interviews."

An exhibit in the Constantiner Gallery opens at 6.30pm, while Serotta will speak at 7.15pm on using new technologies to preserve Jewish memory.

Seventy years ago this spring, Nazi Germany invaded Yugoslavia and Greece, then set about destroying the Jewish communities that had been in this region since the expulsion from Spain in 1492 (in some cases, even longer).

Between 2001 and 2008, Centropa interviewed 200 elderly Sephardic Jews in Bulgaria, Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, Turkey and Greece. Rather than use video in its interviews, Centropa digitized 4,000 family photographs. Rather than concentrating on how Jews were murdered during the Shoah,

Centropa’s interviews are much more about how Jews lived--before, during and after the Shoah. This exhibition is comprised of pictures and stories from these interviews. All texts in this exhibition are in both English and Spanish.
Following the opening of the exhibit, Serotta will present a talk on how his institute has preserved Sephardic Balkan Jewish memory.

Born in Savannah, Georgia in 1949, he has lived in Berlin, Budapest and Austria since 1988. He has authored books and documentaries.

He presented a similar talk in Los Angeles. Read the LA Times article here.

A recent Philadelphia seminar for some 30 educators, organized by Centropa, was covered by the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent.

For more information on Centropa, click here.

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