I attended several of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival screenings, including closing night’s incredibly moving presentation and discussion of “The Last Suit.” Reflecting on the positive audience response to this and other films, I experienced conflicting emotions of inspiration and pride in my Jewish heritage while also feeling sad.
Why sadness when clearly there were many films, particularly Holocaust-related subjects, that focused on our Jewish resourcefulness and resilience? Because for three weeks people attended the film festival and invested their time and money extolling their Jewish heritage who have never visited, much less joined, the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, a hidden Atlanta treasure the past 20 years.
Our Atlanta museum is home to the permanent exhibition “Absence of Humanity: The Holocaust Years, 1933-1945.” The gallery, designed by the recently deceased Benjamin Hirsch, is equally compelling as any Holocaust museum throughout the world. It features personal accounts of survivors living within our own Jewish community, including Ben’s. You can hear our local survivors bear witness to their remarkable stories.
Other galleries are dedicated to Southern Jewish history and traveling exhibitions.
The current exhibit “Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish History” features original documents and artifacts from Baghdad’s once-thriving Jewish community that were discovered in the flooded basement of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters.
The museum archives preserve and catalog our Jewish heritage dating back to the original Jewish settlers in Georgia and continue to record oral histories of leaders and activists from all facets of our diverse Jewish community.
For all those who attended the AJFF, and all others who, like me, take pride in embracing your Jewish heritage, please visit the Breman Museum. Tour the exhibitions, partake in our many learning opportunities, do research in the archives, and attend the many interesting cultural and educational programs offered there. Once you experience this hidden treasure, I promise you will want to become a member; please consider it.
— Judy Bauer Cohen, Atlanta, Breman Museum board member/docent