How to fight growing anti-semitism? Edward Serotta thinks he’s come up with a way.
Serotta, a charismatic American photo-journalist, has spent the last 15 years chronicling the lives of Jewish communities in Europe and the former USSR. While others (the Spielberg Foundation, Fortuny Foundation, etc) are chronicling the Holocaust and pogroms — in other words, how Jews died – Serotta’s mission is to explain how Jews lived. He and his team have recorded an oral history of survivors remembering their day to day existence before, during and after the second World War. Using family photographs and memorabilia as aide-memoire, more than 1000 elderly Jews still living in central Europe, Turkey and the Balkans have pieced together a fascinating account of prejudice and tolerance, persecution and celebration.
Centropa also organises seminars in which young people, as well as school teachers, curriculum-designers and educationalists from all over the world (and many of them not Jewish) learn about Jewish life.
Centropa provides a role model for all faith communities: as it disseminates the memories of a particular group, the centre not only strengthens their sense of identity; it also promotes tolerance.