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Conversation with 
Dr. Meital Orr and Dr. Ori Z. Soltes

Opening remarks
Rachel Stern,
Fritz Ascher Society forPersecuted, Ostracized and Banned Art
Anke Yael Popper, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany

Organized by the Center for Jewish Civilization at Georgetown University in Washington D.C.

This program delves into the following books by Ori Z Soltes:

Immortality, Memory, Creativity, and Survival: The Arts of Alice Lok Cahana, Ronnie Cahana, and Kitra Cahana

This book reviews the story of a 14-year-old girl from Sarvar, Hungary who was deported to Auschwitz by the Nazis, together with her family. She was the sole survivor of the deportation and transit through three different camps, ended up marrying a rabbi, moving to Houston, Texas, by way of Israel, and becoming an artist. She defeated Hitler in three ways: she survived; she ended up turning the destructive processes of her Holocaust experience into creative expression–extracting rainbows from the ashes; and she and her husband produced three children (both sons becoming rabbis) and nine grandchildren. Her older son, Ronnie, also achieved artistic success as a poet; his oldest daughter, Kitra, has already gained recognition as a photographer and filmmaker–and both of them and their work are in part informed by Alice’s experience and the powerful impact of its transmission on their lives and those of the other members of the family. These two narratives could hardly be more opposite in expressing aspects of the Jewish experience in the modern and contemporary world. The talk will include an array of visual images.

Dr. Ori Z. Soltes conceived this publication with Rachel Stern, the Founding Director and CEO of The Fritz Ascher Society for Persecuted, Ostracized and Banned Art in New York. Immortality, Memory, Creativity, and Survival: The Arts of Alice Lok Cahana, Ronnie Cahana and Kitra Cahana was published by The Fritz Ascher Society, which researches, discusses, publishes, and exhibits artists whose life and work were affected by the German Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945. Its work commemorates their artistic achievements, introduces work that may have been forgotten to a broad audience, and initiates an active dialogue about individuality and artistic integrity in response to conditions of extreme duress and to political tyranny.

Funding for this publication was made possible with a grant by the Federal Republic of Germany.

Growing Up Jewish in India: Synagogues, Customs and Ceremonies from the Bene Israel to the Art of Siona Benjamin

This book considers the diverse and positive experience of the Jewish communities in India, culminating with a discussion of the work of an artist who, growing up in that Hindu and Muslim country, went to Catholic and Zoroastrian (Parsi) schools, before migrating to America and finding her artistic voice as a harmony of multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious influences.

About the Speakers:

Dr. Meital Orr, Center for Jewish Civilization
Dr. Orr is a literary critic who has published peer-reviewed articles on modern Jewishliterature and film in comparative context. Dr. Orr recently worked on a speakingengagement on modern Jewish literature at the 2020 ASEES conference, and an article fora special edition of SHOFAR, ‘The Modern Jewess: Images and Text,’ on the convergence ofwomen’s voices in 21st century Israeli and Palestinian Literature and Film.

Dr. Ori Z. Soltes, Center for Jewish Civilization
Dr. Soltes is the former Director the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum. As co-founding Director of the Holocaust Art Restitution Project he has spent twenty yearsfocused on the issue of Nazi-plundered art. Soltes has authored and edited 19 books andscores of articles and exhibition catalogue essays.

Rachel Stern, The Fritz Ascher Society for Persecuted, Ostracized and Banned Art
Ms. Stern is the Founding Director and CEO of The Fritz Ascher Society. Born and educatedin Germany, she worked for ten years in the Department of Drawings and Prints at theMetropolitan Museum of Art in New York. She has also independently organized numerousart exhibitions, and has written extensively about art.

Anke Yael Popper, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
Ms. Popper has been posted to the German Embassy in Washington D.C. since July 2018.She initially served as Deputy Director of the German Information Center and then as Headof the Cultural Section (since Sept. 2020). She previously served at the Federal ForeignOffice in Berlin as Head of Real Estate Management Europe, and before that was postedabroad as Head of the Economic Department of the German Embassy in Tel Aviv, and inother roles in Bucharest and the Hague.

Fritz Ascher Society

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