Holocaust survivors to feature in new photography exhibition

Photographs of survivors of the Nazi genocide of Jews have gone on display in a new exhibition to mark Holocaust Memorial Day in Manchester.

Generations: Portraits Of Holocaust Survivors, brings together more than 60 contemporary portraits of Holocaust survivors and their families, including photos taken by Catherine, Princess of Wales, a keen photographer and patron of the Royal Photographic Society (RPS).

The exhibition, first shown in London in 2021 and Paris last year, features four new photographs, all taken by RPS president Simon Hill, of Holocaust survivors who made new lives after the Second World War and brought up families in the North West of England.

They include married couple, Werner Lachs, 96 and his wife Ruth, 86, who visited the exhibition at the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester ahead of its opening.

Holocaust Memorial Day
Werner and Ruth Lachs (Peter Byrne/PA)

Both lost extended family to the Holocaust but Werner’s family escaped Germany thanks to an MI6 agent and Ruth was hidden by sympathisers, but her younger brother was murdered in Auschwitz.

Mrs Lachs, from Prestwich, Manchester, said: “It won’t be forgotten the terrible times we had with the Nazis and we hope it never happens again, it’s just a reminder to people that the generations have, thank goodness, that people have children, made a decent life after the war for themselves.

“I think about it, but thank goodness we come out of it and I did think about the future and got settled, had a family and thank goodness we have nine grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, so I’m glad that I managed to make a reasonable life for myself.”

The exhibition aims to capture the connections between Holocaust survivors and the younger generations of their families, shining a light on the full lives they have lived and our collective responsibility to ensure their stories live on.

The rise of Adolf Hitler as German dictator and the persecution of Europe’s Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators between 1933 and 1945 led to the mass extermination of six million lives, most murdered in gas chambers or shot.

Royal visit to Germany – Day One
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin (Jane Barlow/PA)

Simon Hill, the Royal Photographic Society’s President said, “It has been an immense privilege to meet each of these camp survivors and refugees and to explore with them their unique stories.”

Justin Cohen, a newspaper editor for Jewish News who came up with the idea of a photography exhibition and made contact with the Princess of Wales through Buckingham Palace, hopes there will be more events worldwide.

He said: “In the wake of the United Arab Emirates’ historic decision to include Holocaust education in their curriculum for school children, my ultimate goal would be to see the exhibition in that country and wider parts of the Arab world.”

Generations: Portraits Of Holocaust Survivors is a free exhibition opening at IWM North on January 27 and running until summer 2023.