In 2017, the Galicia Jewish Museum created a temporary exhibition The Girl from the Diary: Searching for Rywka from the Łódź Ghetto based on Rywka Lipszyc’s story, in cooperation with Jewish Family and Children’s Services Holocaust Center of San Francisco. The huge interest and positive feedback from the visitors encouraged the Museum to create a travelling, mobile version of this exhibition.
The exhibition presents the story of Rywka Lipszyc and her diary through selected excerpts of the diary supplemented by expert commentary from historians, doctors, psychologists and rabbis. These commentaries help us to understand the context of the times and events Rywka refers to in her diary. The idea for commentaries itself strongly refers to the Jewish tradition of explaining and interpreting sacred texts. In this symbolic way, the exhibition also refers to Rywka’s devotion to the tradition in which she grew up, to her unwavering faith in God and God’s care.
The exhibition also includes unique historical artifacts and documents from museums in Poland, the USA, Israel, Germany and Belgium. The beads, thimbles, and toys are a moving testament documenting the personal dimensions of the Holocaust, which are so easily overlooked when teaching the Holocaust.
The story presented in the exhibition The Girl from the Diary: Searching for Rywka from the Łódź Ghetto is mainly, but not exclusively, the story of women. Most of the wartime narratives and memories of the German occupation concentrate of the fate of men — soldiers, politicians, leaders. In Rywka’s world, the perspective is the opposite. Men appear in the diary, but remain in the shadows, in the background. They are present, but not dominant. The world we get to know from Rywka’s diary is populated by women and its structure is created by relations between them. It is filled with their pain and longing, their courage and daily battles, their fear.
The archival photographs illustrating the story of Rywka Lipszyc are the work of the three most famous photographers of the Łódź Ghetto, Henryk Ross, Mendel Grossman and Walter Genewein, who preserved the realities of ghetto life on color slides. Stored in closed containers, underground, in hiding, many have suffered partial damage. They present only part of the picture originally captured on the slide. They are fragmentary, just like the whole story of Rywka, which — like these negatives — had to wait many years to be brought to light.
If you are interested in bringing this exhibition to your institution, please contact Tomasz Strug, Deputy Director of the Galicia Jewish Museum and Head of Curatorial Affairs: firstname.lastname@example.org