USF Libraries | Special & Digital Collections | Exhibits

About the Exhibit

In the Fall of 2010, the USF Tampa Library Department of Special and Digital Collections partnered with the Florida Holocaust Museum to present an exhibit entitled “Art and Autobiography: Holocaust Survivor Portraits by Nava Mentkow.” The library contributed selections from the Holocaust Survivors Oral History Project, a collection of over 40 bay area Holocaust survivor oral histories recorded from 2009-2011, in collaboration with USF Communication professor Dr. Carolyn Ellis. In addition, the library produced a brief documentary, embedded below, intended to provide visitors with a glimpse into Nava’s artistic process and the inspiration for her work. In this powerful collaboration uniting autobiography and portraiture, museum visitors were invited to view a collection of the artist’s evocative work while listening to the subjects’ compelling oral histories recounting their experiences during the Holocaust.

This digital exhibition is presented as a lasting effort not only to share Nava’s sensitive and poignant portraits, but to preserve each survivor’s history and provide a meaningful multimedia experience. Some of the survivors interviewed have since passed away, adding profound significance to the gift of their time and testimony. As you reflect on these portraits and listen to courageous men and women share their stories, understand that each person interviewed expressed a fervent wish that we not only remember the millions that were lost, but that we honor their memory by standing up for others, wherever and whenever we witness injustice, heartlessness, and cruelty.