Clarion, Pa.- On April 20, photographer Lisa Shifren hosted “Portraits of Holocaust
Survivors” in Hart Chapel. The event attracted both students and community members.
The event was held by Shifren, who is also the adult life coordinator for the Park Heights Jewish Community Center, and she has great passion for her photographic work. Those she photographs were born all over Europe, now all of them live in the Baltimore area.
A Jewish woman herself, Shifren speaks highly of the survivors she photographs. She shares their stories of loss and fear. Many of those she photographed were separated from their families and never saw them ever again.
One of the men she talks about is Harold, who was 19 years old when the war broke out. Shifren tells of how he jumped the train taking him to a concentration camp, was shot eight times, and still lived only to be caught again.
Shifren still sees Harold regularly, and he comes to all of the events she hosts in the Baltimore area.
Harold gives one piece of advice when it comes to a younger generation: “I am glad to be an American. I am thankful for the opportunities this country has given me. Everyone should get an education, and make a life for themselves. Don’t regret any of the choices you make.”
Morgan McMillen, a sophomore secondary education physics major, attended the lecture for one of her classes. “I found the presentation a very informative way of teaching people today what those who went through the holocaust lived through without reading from a text book. The goal of the speaker was to share the survivors’ stories and how they triumphed in life after great loss and destruction,” McMillen said.
“I named this work ‘Grace. Dignity. Humility. Compassion.’ because that is what I see in the survivors,” stated Shifren. When asked why she began this project, Shifren said, “I was working with the survivors and loved getting to know them as people. I started bringing my digital camera to work with me. I really just combined my passions.”
Shifren started the project nine years ago in 2006 and has been traveling telling the survivors’ stories ever since. “It’s awesome. I feel blessed being able to do it and pass on their stories and messages to the next generation,” said Shifren.
Shifren is hoping that in the near future, her work will be made into a book to be sold to the masses. You can check out her other works at www.lisashifren.com.