“Identity, Art and Migration” tells a distinctly human story of how circumstance impacts selfhood. Through the lens of seven artist case studies and several interdisciplinary discussions—including a focus on US immigration policies toward European refugees during the first half of the 20th century—the exhibition explores the transformative effect of forced migration on individual identity. This lens refracts the immigration circumstances and outcomes of Anni Albers, Friedel Dzubas, Eva Hesse, Rudi Lesser, Lily Renee, Arthur Szyk, and Fritz Ascher.

The Fritz Ascher Society researches, discusses, publishes, and exhibits artists whose life and work were affected by the German Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945. With our work we commemorate their artistic achievements and educate a global audience about the Holocaust through the arts, initiating an active dialogue about individuality and artistic integrity in response to conditions of extreme duress and to political tyranny.

Using the resources of the online exhibition, we plan further online programming, the publication of a bilingual (German/English) book, and a National High School competition.


Exhibition Curators:
Ori Z Soltes, PhD
Rachel Stern

Ori Z Soltes, PhD
Rachel Stern

Sharon Emanuelli (Los Angeles CA)

Essays written by:
Rebecca Erbelding, PhD, Historian and Author of Rescue Board: The Untold Story of America’s Efforts to Save the Jews of Europe (Doubleday, 2018) (Washington DC)

Eckhart Gillen, PhD, Independent Curator (Berlin, Germany)

Patricia L. Lewy, PhD, Director of the Friedel Dzubas Estate Archives (New York NY)

Steven Luckert PhD, Senior Program Curator, Levine Institute for Holocaust Education
at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington DC)

Trina Robbins, Comic Historian and Artist (San Francisco CA)

Ori Z Soltes, PhD, Teaching Professor at Georgetown University (Washington DC)

Oksana Yakusho, PhD, Psychologist and Psychoanalyst (Santa Barbara CA)

Eckhart Gillen essay: Helen Adkins (Berlin, Germany)



Generously sponsored by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in New York.

Ori Z Soltes, PhD, teaches at Georgetown University across the disciplines of theology, art history, philosophy and politics. He is the former Director and Curator of the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum where he curated some 80 exhibitions. He is the author of several hundred articles and catalogue essays, and the author or editor of 25 books, including The Ashen Rainbow: The Holocaust and the Arts; Symbols of Faith: How Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Art Draw from the Same Source; and Tradition and Transformation: Three Millennia of Jewish Art and Architecture (second edition forthcoming).

Rachel Stern is the Founding Director and CEO of The Fritz Ascher Society for Persecuted, Ostracized and Banned Art. Born and educated in Germany, she worked for ten years in the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  She has organized numerous art exhibitions and has written extensively about art. She is a 2017 recipient of the Hans and Lea Grundig Prize, in recognition of her research about the artist Fritz Ascher (Berlin, 1893-1970), published as The Expressionist Fritz Ascher/ Der Expressionist Fritz Ascher (Cologne: Wienand 2016), and has authored or edited numerous publications since.


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