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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2017 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


 

September 24, 2010  RSS feed
Culture

Text: T T T

Jewish Museum exhibit chronicles survivors’ final summers at Catskills lodge

One of the 37 photos that capture life at the Four Seasons Lodge where a group of Holocaust survivors got together for 30 years. One of the 37 photos that capture life at the Four Seasons Lodge where a group of Holocaust survivors got together for 30 years. In 1978, nearly 100 Polish, Russian and Hungarian Holocaust survivors bought 44 acres in the Catskill Mountains of New York where they created a communal bungalow colony called the Four Seasons Lodge.

For 30 years, the lodge, located in what was known as the Borscht Belt, was a refuge for the survivors who chose to share their summers enjoying life. As some saw it, they were living an annual group testament to the failure of Hitler’s Final Solution.

But in 2008, with their numbers dwindling and the condition of their property decaying, the lodgers voted to sell and disband.

Their unique story, captured in a photo documentary, will unfold when the Jewish Museum of Florida hosts the world premiere of the exhibit on Oct. 5.

Photographed and recorded at the lodge, acclaimed documentarian Rick Nahmias (Golden State of Grace and The Migrant Project) captures the survivors’ final summers together. The images place the lodgers’ zest for life in direct counterpoint to the incredible loss in their youth.

A stained glass window made by lodge residents with message: To life from ashes A stained glass window made by lodge residents with message: To life from ashes Through 37 large format photographs of their musings on politics, playful romancing, ritualized card games and weekly parties, all set against the decay of the Catskills culture, Nahmias tells the counter intuitive story of a tight-knit group of vivacious Holocaust survivors who rediscovered family and community and created a sense of place all their own. Items recovered from the Lodge will also be exhibited including a stained glass work made by residents and lawn furniture.

The exhibit is tied together with a soundtrack of recordings, interviews and text, as well as recovered items from the Four Seasons Lodge, which is described as a haven where old friendships were rekindled, love was rediscovered and a community aged without growing old.

The exhibit runs through Jan. 2, 2011.

There is also an award-winning 2008 movie documentary on the same subject, Four Seasons Lodge: Survival was Only the Beginning. The movie was directed by New York Times reporter Andrew Jacobs, who included the story of the lodgers in a series he wrote for The Times.

Marcia Jo Zerivitz, Jewish Museum founding director and curator, said many of the images in the film are the same as in the photo documentary because the two producers worked together.

• • •

The Jewish Museum of Florida is housed in restored historic buildings that were once synagogues for Miami Beach’s first Jewish congregation.The focal point is its core exhibit MOSAIC: Jewish Life in Florida: 1763 to the Present along with temporary history and art exhibits. The museum, located at 301 Washington Ave., Miami Beach and is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Mondays and civil and Jewish holidays. Admission: adults $6; seniors $5; families $12; members and children under 6 are always free; Saturdays are free admission.

For more information, call (305) 672-5044 or go online to www.jewishmuseum.com.


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