“I ask for you to recognise Hilde’s light, to be a light for yourself, and to be a light for others.”
Rosy, Creative Activist.
This January our third Trailblazer saw nine young people from King David High School become Creative Activists, creating powerful acts of sharing and connection as they explored and shared stories to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day on Wednesday 27 January. This is the beginning of a partnership with Imperial War Museums (IWM) as part of their Second World War and Holocaust Partnership Programme. We will be working with seven other partners across the UK to engage audiences with hidden or lesser-known storiesrelating to the Second World War and the Holocaust. Our Creative Activists group will connect with diverse local communities to share lessons learned from these stories to help make a positive difference in the world.
Responding to this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day theme ‘Light the Darkness’ these young activists created their own artwork in response to stories from our collections and from speaking to local community members about their own relationship to the Holocaust. They then gifted their artworks to community partners in Cheetham Hill, the museum’s local area, in an act of passing on stories and celebrating forgotten lives.
Each Creative Activist also created a film to share with the community partners where they talked about their artwork and the impact the stories and the project has had on them. You can view their videos here.
The powerful and emotive artworks created by the young people include sculptures, tealight holders, painted commemorative stones and illustrated luggage tags, all reflecting the stories and personal connections to the Holocaust.
Stories remembered include that of Hilde Davidsohn who fled Berlin to move to Manchester, leaving her mother and sister behind, or Marie Zweig who became a domestic servant in Manchester to escape Nazi-occupied Vienna. There is also celebration of communities such as Leicester Road in Cheetham Hill which became home to many Jewish refugees and remains one of Manchester’s most culturally diverse areas, and the symbolic theme of individual people being a light in the darkness for others.
The artworks have been given to community partners, including The Welcome Centre, Trinity United Church and St Thomas’s Church, and Cheetham Hill TESCO, who will keep the artwork safe and share with their own communities before returning to the museum. The Creative Activists recorded messages for each of the partners, who recorded their own responses in return. On Thursday 28 January both groups came together for an online screening of the final film.
“Before this project I have never thought about the Cheetham Hill community properly, even walked down Cheetham Hill Road. After walking around Cheetham and hearing all these stories, it has definitely inspired me.”
Poppy, Creative Activist
Sharing and connection is at the heart of the Manchester Jewish Museum and our mission to connect Jewish stories to the world in order to explore both our differences and similarities and to celebrate that which makes people unique and which connects us all.
Our Creative Activists are:
Special thanks to our community partners:
- The Welcome Centre
- Trinity United Church and St. Thomas’s Church Crumpsall
- Buzzin Sounds
- Cheetham Hill TESCO Superstore
- Mary Burke (Independent Cheetham Artist)