War museum highlights the cases of Holocaust victims

Graham Boxer with one of the suitcases and the Gerry Judah sculpture

Graham Boxer with one of the suitcases and the Gerry Judah sculpture

The suitcases of two Holocaust victims and a seven-foot sculpture are among Jewish-related items showcased in the Imperial War Museum North’s 10th anniversary exhibition.

German couple Leonard and Clara Wohl owned the suitcases. Their four children who survived did not know what had happened to their parents. Confirmation that they died at Auschwitz came only in 1999. The suitcases were donated by their daughter Eva, who had kept them in the attic of her British home since 1947.

At midday, the main exhibition space goes dark as Eva Wohl’s story is projected onto walls and ceilings in the museum’s Big Picture Show.

Also on exhibit is The Crusader, a Gerry Judah sculpture of war-torn buildings, commissioned by the IWM from the London-based contemporary artist.

The IWM North site — a 180-foot-tall set of three shards on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal — is the first UK building designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the son of survivors.

IWM North director Graham Boxer said the museum’s Jewish stories depicted ordinary people in extraordinary situations.

“One of the first stories we told was that of the Wohl family — whose suitcases have been on display here since we opened in Manchester in July 2002. A decade later, more than 2.5 million visitors have been through the doors and these suitcases are as significant as ever.”

    Last updated: 12:04pm, July 13 2012