'Expressing Inexpressible Tragedy'

Holocaust Art Focus of April Conference

The suffering of the Jewish people during the Nazi genocide - and its interpretation in painting, music, literature and film - will be the subject of the conference "The Holocaust and the Arts," hosted by Boston College April 15 and 16.

"Art expresses the depths of the creator's soul," said conference organizer Prof. John Michalczyk (Fine Arts). "Holocaust art - be it in the form of a painting, poem or film - grapples with expressing inexpressible tragedy. This conference will capture a wide range of responses to this artistic expression."

The conference opens on Thursday, April 15 with a 5 p.m. reception at the Pucker Gallery at 171 Newbury St., site of an exhibition of works by Israeli artist Samuel Bak, whose painting evoke the tragedy of the Shoah, or Holocaust, which he survived.

Bak will appear during the evening program at Bapst Library, which begins at 7:30 p.m. with a keynote address by Simmons College Professor Emeritus Lawrence Langer, author of several works on the Holocaust in art and literature, who will provide a commentary on Bak's work. Bak will speak on "An Artist's View" of the Holocaust, and Prof. Thomas Oboe Lee (Music) will present an original composition, "I Never Saw Another Butterfly."

Discussions of Holocaust film, literature, art and music are scheduled at Bapst on April 16, as well as a session for educators on "Teaching the Holocaust." Boston College speakers will include filmmakers Michalczyk and Prof. Pamela Berger (Fine Arts) and German historian Prof. John Heineman (History). The conference will conclude with a Yom Hashoah commemoration featuring music and Jewish and Christian liturgical elements.

All events are free for members of the Boston College community who show a BC ID.

As a prelude to the conference, the University is hosting a film series, "Adolescence and the Holocaust," which last month featured screenings of Francois Truffaut's "Au Revoir Les Infants" and Pierre Sauvage's "Weapons of the Spirit." It continues on Tuesday, April 6 with "The Revolt of Job," a 1984 film about an elderly Hungarian Jewish couple who adopt a gentile boy to whom they can leave their heritage. Historian Judith Schulmann will offer an accompanying presentation.

The series concludes on April 13 with Michael Verhoeven's "The Nasty Girl" (1990), a film about a young girl who uncovers her village's Nazi-era secrets. Anna Elisabeth Rosmus, whose childhood experiences inspired the film, will offer remarks.

Both films will be screened at 7 p.m. in McGuinn Auditorium. Admission is free.

In addition, an accompanying exhibition, "The Holocaust and the Arts," will be on display at O'Neill Library.

More information on the events, which are all open to the public, is available through the conference World Wide Web site at /holarts.

Sponsors include the Jesuit Institute, Boston College Jesuit Community, Boston College Hillel, Israeli Consulate, Facing History and Ourselves, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the City of Newton Cultural Office.

-Rosanne Pellegrini and Mark Sullivan

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