Oregon Jewish Museum & Center For Holocaust Education

An inspiring visit and a sobering reminder of the dangerous times we live in.

Location:
724 NW Davis Street
Portland, OR 97385

We happened to be walking down Davis Street in Portland, Oregon and passed by the Oregon Jewish Museum & Center For Holocaust Education (OJMCHE) and agreed we should check it out sometime during our stay in Portland. We are not Jewish but are always looking for opportunities to extend our understanding of history, particularly when it comes to civil liberties and human rights.

The museum is small so it doesn’t take long to visit but the stories and messaging were powerful and for us was a timely reminder of current times with the recent atrocity in Pittsburgh with a gunmen shooting 11 innocent people dead in a synagogue. Also, of note is the dramatic rise in hate crimes in the US and other places around the world.

OJMCHE has permanent and temporary exhibits, and the first we visited was a temporary exhibit about the Lodz Ghetto during the Nazi occupation in through the eyes of photojournalist Henryk Ross. Ross took hundreds of photos documenting the cruel treatment of the Jewish community in Lodz with 160,000 interred in the poorest areas of the city. When the city was freed in 1945 only 877 remained alive in the Ghetto. The photographs and a video interview with Henryk Ross were very disturbing.

Next we moved to a permanent exhibit the gave further insight into the holocaust and goes on to talk about the persecution of other groups based on their race or sexual proclivity in the US and other countries. I know most of the background to these persecutions but it nonetheless saddening to be reminded of these horrors. Beyond the holocaust this exhibit goes on to explain the history and role of the Jewish Community in Oregon. I found this very interesting. When I lived in New York I had more exposure to the Jewish community there but have had little exposure to Jews in Oregon.

A not so glorious part of Oregon’s history

Finally, we went to see another temporary exhibit called Eli’s Town. In early 2017, photographer Elliot Burg traveled to the Ukraine to document the birthplace of his Jewish grandfather and namesake Eli. Burg’s photographs of Ukraine document his journey.

Eli’s Town

October 4th, 2018 – December 2nd, 2018

Location: East Gallery, OJMCHE

In early 2017, photographer Elliot Burg traveled to the Ukraine to document the birthplace of his Jewish grandfather and namesake Eli. Burg’s photographs of Ukraine (“a marriage new and old”) document his journey

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