FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 4, 2022
MEDIA CONTACT: Sydney Ritter | [email protected] | 480-874-4663
‘Hold on to Hope’ exhibition to spotlight significant moment in history through the eyes of a survivor
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — “Hold on to Hope,” a new exhibition spotlighting the life of local Holocaust survivor Oskar Knoblauch, will open on Oct. 21.
The exhibition will remain on display through Jan. 22, 2023, in the Center Space gallery at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. 2nd Street, Scottsdale.
“Hold on to Hope” will take viewers on a visual journey through Knoblauch’s harrowing experiences as he and his family struggled to survive the brutality of the Third Reich in Germany and Nazi-occupied Poland. As visitors walk through the gallery, photos, Knoblauch’s personal anecdotes and period objects will illustrate key events, people, and places.
“Many people have asked how I feel looking back at these old images and memories,” Knoblauch said. “And as sad as I would have been earlier in life, I now look at them as a means to educate and inspire those I teach, especially the children. I am hoping that by sharing my life, those who listen will be the next generation to educate others about the tragedies of the Holocaust, even after all the survivors are long gone.”
Throughout the exhibition, augmented reality interactives will allow visitors to see and hear stories directly from Knoblauch, including within the full-scale recreation of the Kraków ghetto room, the last space where he and his family were together. The exhibition also spotlights the importance of being an upstander, which Christine Harthun, residency and curriculum coordinator of Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation, wants visitors to take with them in their everyday lives.
Harthun has worked with Knoblauch for the past eight years, helping to connect him with classrooms across the Valley.
“When speaking, he shares the lessons he took away from that tragic time, encouraging students to respect everyone especially themselves, to do the best they can at whatever they face in life, and to always hold on to hope,” said Harthun. “Seeing the heart-felt reactions of students and hearing from teachers and principals of the long-lasting impact Oskar’s words have on students, I believed that we needed to find a way to share the lessons and inspiration within Oskar’s presentations with more young people beyond Oskar’s physical capability and to secure his legacy for years to come.”
While Knoblauch is just one among millions whose lives were forever scarred, if not devastated, by the Holocaust, this personal glimpse into one man’s story helps to better understand the gravity of the 6 million Jewish lives that were lost.
“This exhibition is important to Scottsdale Arts because it reflects our dedication to Holocaust education, which we have brought to valley schools through the Hope Chest curriculum,” said Laura Hales, curator of Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation. “A unique element of this exhibition is that it aims to build empathy for those whose lives were shattered during the Holocaust by leading the viewer chronologically through Oskar’s life, from his boyhood until the end of the war. Viewers will hear directly from Knoblauch about how he and his family managed to survive, one day at a time, and hold on to hope for a brighter future.”
“Hold on to Hope” opens on Friday, Oct. 21, with a reception at 6 p.m. for members of the public to meet Knoblauch and learn about his experiences. Visitors will also be able to see the exhibition for themselves in the Center Space from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays through Oct. 2. The center is closed on Mondays.
For more information, visit ScottsdaleArtsLearning.org/exhibition.