Artful idea will aid survivors

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 19, 2014
Chava Rosenzweig is helping survivors to deal with trauma

Chava Rosenzweig is helping survivors to deal with trauma

Hundreds of Holocaust survivors and Jewish refugees in financial hardship will benefit from a £150,000 art therapy scheme.

The Six Point Foundation, supporting Jewish refugees, is backing a two-year arts project with survivors who have limited connection to the Jewish community. Many are in non-Jewish care homes in the north-west and Scotland and some are reliant on benefits and charity.

Manchester artist Chava Rosenzweig, whose Shoah-inspired sculptures have been commissioned by the Imperial War Museum, has recently documented the stories of Salford survivors with the BBC. She is also an art therapist who has used sculpture and painting to help elderly refugees deal with trauma.

"This new project will give a chance for survivors to express themselves, because people who don't want to talk about their experiences have limited outlets," she said. "Israeli research has shown that some survivors begin suffering from post-traumatic stress 70 years later.

"One survivor wouldn't work with clay at first, but as she felt the cold clay with her hands told us how German soldiers put her hands in snow and waited until they were frozen for torture. She had never spoken about it before. That woman passed away last year close to 90-years-old."

Six Point Foundation executive director Susan Cohen said Mrs Rosenzweig was uniquely placed to help the beneficiaries. "Chava has proven through her other projects that she is able to really communicate with survivors of all kinds."

Last updated: 1:54pm, June 19 2014