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They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust

May 10, 2009 - October 1, 2009


Mayer Kirshenblatt, Purim Play: “The Kraków Wedding,” c. 1994
"... a reluctant painter and accidental memoirist whose words and images form an extraordinary exhibition...." The New York Times

Mayer Kirshenblatt has made it his mission to remember the world of his childhood in living color, lest future generations know more about how Jews died than how they lived. This unique project is a blend of memoir, oral history, and visual interpretation. Intimate, humorous, and refreshingly candid, the project is a remarkable record -- in both words and images -- of Jewish life in a Polish town before World War II, as seen through the eyes of an inquisitive boy.

Mayer July online feature

Mayer Kirshenblatt: Purim Play: The Krakow WeddingMayer Kirshenblatt
Purim Play: “The Kraków Wedding,” c. 1994
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 40 in. (76.2 x 101.6 cm)
Collection of Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett and Max Gimblett
Courtesy of Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
© 2009 Mayer Kirshenblatt

They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland before the Holocaust has been organized by the Judah L. Magnes Museum. The exhibition has been made possible through a grant from the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture and thanks to the generosity of Jean and Sandy Colen, Varda and Irving Rabin, and Katie and Amnon Rodan.

The presentation at The Jewish Museum is generously supported by the Weiser Family Foundation in honor of Siegfried and Paula Weiser; The Atlantic Philanthropies; the Joseph Alexander Foundation; Goldie and David Blanksteen; the Robert I. Goldman Foundation; the Koret Foundation; the Atran Foundation; the Winnick Family Foundation; Amy Rubenstein; and other donors.
Koret Foundation


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