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About the Original Exhibit

Darkness into Life at Cullman Middle School.The Birmingham Holocaust Education Center is proud to be able to loan Darkness into Life: Alabama Holocaust Survivors Through Photography and Art to your school, community or museum.  This unique educational exhibit features the stories of 20 Alabama Holocaust survivors.  It teaches the history of the Holocaust and offers a rich understanding of its impact on these individuals and their families.





History of the Exhibit

by Becky Seitel, photographer, 2009

Exhibit title wall at Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.In early 2005, my husband Alan and I were looking for a community project that would share our common interests.  Alan is Jewish, I am Christian, and before we married, we committed to being supportive of each other's religion.  But since we didn't worship together, we felt a desire to do something as a couple that would allow us to share a mutually-rewarding experience outside traditional spiritual settings.

I had recently re-discovered photography, so right away we had our method, but we talked for months about the message.  We discussed current issues: breast cancer, AIDS, homelessness, and organ donation since Alan's son had recently undergone a successful liver transplant.  But when we attended a local Holocaust Memorial Service and heard the first-hand accounts of the Holocaust, our message became clear.  I had never met a Holocaust survivor, and had certainly never heard a first-hand account of that horrible time in history.  I realized our grandchildren would be unlikely to hear these personal stories since many survivors were now in their 80's and 90's.  As we walked to the car in stunned silence, I looked at Alan and said, "I think we found our project."

Additional weeks of discussion followed.  Alan felt that we had to do something different from other Holocaust exhibits.  We talked about the photographs we would shoot, how many (perhaps ten, we thought), where we would exhibit, but we knew there was something missing in our plan.  During this time, we attended an art exhibit by Mitzi J. Levin.  Mitzi, too, is Christian, and married to a Jewish husband.  We had discovered the missing piece.  We invited Mitzi to join us and paint the memories of the survivors: their childhood, imprisonment or hiding, and liberation.  My photographs would capture them in the present and the result would be the stories of the lives of Birmingham's Holocaust survivors - how they prevented Hitler from winning by living happy, successful lives, how they travelled from Darkness into Life.

Our initial exhibit at Birmingham's Levite Jewish Community Center on April 1, 2007, drew 1,700 people on opening day.  Staff members from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute visited the exhibit and invited us to show at the Institute.  They also asked us to expand the exhibit to include all of Alabama.

The idea of ten photographs grew into a 78-piece exhibit featuring the stories of 20 Holocaust survivors from throughout Alabama.  Created to educate, the exhibit was donated to the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center to help teach students about the Holocaust, genocide, and bigotry.  And most importantly, to join together and say "Never Again!"



Exhibit Contents

          Exhibit Manual

                    Detailed manual that borrower receives prior to receiving the exhibit. 

                    Contains how to hang the exhibit, prepare publicity, educational materials, etc.         

          Survivor Biographies (19)

          Survivor Artwork (78 photos and paintings)

          Narratives (61)

                    Describes the picture, but also weaves in historical facts.

          Maps (2)

                   • Countries with Survivors

                   • Cities / Ghettos / Camps

          Descriptive Title Board


         Introductory Video: "Why Should We Remember"

                    This 8-1/2 minute video is intended as a visitor introduction to the Exhibit.

          Darkness into Life DVD: Interviews with Survivors/Artists

                    Features the survivors and artists talking about their experience and their artwork.

                    This 55-minute video loop can be run continuously during the exhibit.

          CD of Reproducible Materials

                    Includes sample press releases, images for publicity, Exhibit Brochures to reproduce

                    for visitors, and educational materials.




Host Requirements  

           Exhibit Space

                 • The full Exhibit requires approximately 2,200 square feet of gallery space.  

                         Alternative display space such as free-standing peg-boards may be considered.

                 • Hosts may choose to request only a portion of the Exhibit.

                         We are willing to work with those not able to handle the entire Exhibit.

                 • An audio-visual space for the Darkness into Life video is also recommended.


            Exhibit Period

                 • Booking are recommended for a 2 month minimum.

                 • A minimum of 2 weeks is required between bookings.

            Exhibit Fees

  • Schools / School Systems within the state of Alabama   FREE
  • Cultural Institutions / Museums within the state of Alabama     FREE
  • Schools outside the state of Alabama                 FREE
  • Cultural Institutions / Museums outside the state of Alabama    $2,500
           Shipping Fees (round trip unless otherwise indicated)

  • Schools / School Systems within the state of Alabama FREE
  • Cultural Institutions / Museums within the state of Alabama Paid by Host
  • Schools outside the state of Alabama Paid by Host
  • Cultural Institutions / Museums outside the state of Alabama Paid by Host
           Conditions of Use

                 • No Entry Fees, above and beyond those of the host institution, may be charged for

                          this Exhibit.

                 • All objects in the Exhibit must be displayed in accordance with the guidelines provided.

            Educational / Public Programming

                 • All Hosts are required to open this Exhibit to the public and encourage group tours. 

                         The Exhibit was designed for education.  Hosts are expected to further this goal.

                         The BHEC will be happy to consult on these programs.

                 • Hosts are expected to provide free Exhibit Brochures for all visitors.  Prototypes

                          will be provided by the BHEC.

                 • Hosts are expected to provide educational materials to teachers.  Some materials

                         will be provided by the BHEC.  Additional resources can be found on the BHEC


                 • Hosts are encouraged to offer accompanying public programs / events during the

                         Exhibit period.  This includes opening receptions, lectures, tours, or other

                         educational programs.

             Security / Facilities

                   Host is responsible for insuring the safety of the Exhibit.  Exhibit must be able

                   to be locked up after each day's closing.

             Installation / Care

                    Host is responsible for installation and de-installation of the Exhibit.

             Shipping / Condition Reports

                  Shipping will be arranged by the BHEC with an approved shipping company.

                 The Exhibit will arrive in wooden crates.  Host is responsible for storage of these

                           crates for the duration of the Exhibit.

                 Host is responsible for completing condition reports upon unpacking and re-packing

                           the Exhibit.


                     Damages incurred while in possession of the host will be the responsibility of the



                  Host is required to promote the Exhibit to the entire community.

                  The BHEC must be properly credited on all publicity materials.

                  The BHEC will provide a sample press release and Exhibit photos/copy to aid

                         in this process.

             Documentation / Assessment Reports

                  Installation Photographs & Publicity: 

                            Host is responsible for photographing the completely installed Exhibit as

                            well as compiling all press and publicity (print and electronic) associated

                            with the Exhibit.

                  Associated Programming:

                            Hosts are required to provide the BHEC with detailed information regarding

                            Exhibit-related programming such as opening receptions, lectures, tours,

                            and educational programs.

                  Community Involvement Assessment:

                            Hosts are required to provide the BHEC  with detailed information regarding

                            visitation statistics.

             BHEC Support

                     The BHEC is happy to assist host venues in their presentation of this Exhibit.





Where We Have Been

          April / May 2007
          Levite Jewish Community Center / Birmingham, AL


          June / July 2007

          Temple Beth-El / Birmingham, AL

          July 2007

          Samford University SSITE Teacher Workshop / Birmingham, AL

          October 2007
          Childersburg High School / Childersburg, AL


          January / February 2008
          Cullman Middle School / Cullman, AL


          March / April 2008
          Alabama State Capitol / Montgomery, AL


          September / October 2008
          Birmingham Civil Rights Institute / Birmingham, AL


          December 2008 / January 2009

          Mobile Museum of Art / Mobile, AL

          March / April 2009
          Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts / Gadsden, AL


          January / February 2010
          Albert P. Brewer High School / Somerville, AL


          March / April 2010
          Anniston Public Library / Anniston, AL


          September / October 2010
          Wallace State Community College / Hanceville, AL


          October / December 2010
          Parnell Memorial Library / Montevallo, AL


          December 2010 / February 2011
          Lewis Cooper, Jr. Memorial Library / Opelika, AL


          March / April 2011

          Birmingham Public Library / Birmingham, AL

          September / October 2011
          Hoover High School / Birmingham, AL

          November 2011

          Florence-Lauderdale Public Library / Florence, AL

          January / February 2012

          Phillips High School / Bear Creek, AL

          February 2012

          Birmingham Southern College / Birmingham, AL 

          March / June 2012

          Huntsville Museum of Art / Huntsville, AL

          October / November 2012

          Troy University / Montgomery Campus / Montgomery, AL

          January / February 2013

          Troy University / Troy Campus / Troy, AL

          March / April 2013

          Troy University / Dothan Campus / Dothan, AL




Where We Are Going

          September 2015 / May 2016

          Vulcan Museum / Birmingham, AL     





Page last updated: April 13, 2015