Holocaust victims remembered at SUNY New Paltz
NEW PALTZ -- The voice of Viennese-born Frankfurt opera singer Leonore Schwarz Neumaier will once again resound. An exhibition depicting the life of Leonore Schwarz Neumaier, who was a victim of the Nazi Holocaust, will open Saturday, April 6 at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, State University of New York at New Paltz. It is titled "Leonore Schwarz Neumaier - A Voice Silenced."
The opening reception is Wednesday, April 10, 7-8 p.m. at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art. The exhibition will be on view until May 19.
Diane Leonore Neumaier, in collaboration with her father, John J. Neumaier, created the exhibition to honor the memory of Leonore Schwarz Neumaier and the millions of innocent victims of Nazi brutality and war.
Holocaust Commemorative Lecture
The Resnick Institute for the Study of Modern Jewish Life, SUNY New Paltz, has invited the exhibition creators to speak at its annual Holocaust Commemorative Lecture, coinciding with the annual observation of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom HaShoah, on April 9.
John J. Neumaier's presentation is titled "One Voice, Many Voices - Memories of Persecution and the Holocaust," and Diane Leonore Neumaier's presentation is titled "The Making of the Exhibition 'A Voice Silenced'." Their lectures will be given Wednesday, April 10 at 8 p.m. in the SUNY New Paltz Coykendall Science Building Auditorium.
The opening reception and lectures are free and open to the public.
Leonore Schwarz Neumaier
Leonore Schwarz Neumaier pursued her operatic career in Austria and Germany in the early part of the 20th century, singing with opera companies in Graz, Nuremburg, Magdeburg, and Frankfurt am Main, where she was engaged as the first contralto from 1917 to 1921. Following her marriage in 1921 to Otto Neumaier, a Frankfurt businessman, and the birth of their son, Hans (John), she appeared mainly on the concert stage. The rise of Nazism in the 1930s and the growing repression of German Jews restricted her appearances to Jewish groups and organizations associated with the J¿dische Kulturbund.
When family efforts to bring Leonore Schwarz Neumaier out of Germany to the United States were unsuccessful, she was forced to remain in Frankfurt. In 1942, the Gestapo deported her to the Majdanek death camp near Lublin, Poland, where she was killed.
The exhibition includes photographs of Leonore Schwarz in various operatic roles, opera posters, and other opera memorabilia, as well as documents that provide a historical context. A recording of Leonore Schwarz' voice will be playing in the exhibition hall. The exhibition will travel to the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2003.
Of special interest is the arrangement of family snapshots taken by Leonore Schwarz Neumaier's teenage son, John, with his Leica camera - a gift on his Bar Mitzvah. They reflect the values and experiences of a young Jewish boy growing up in Nazi Germany. Some are of beloved relatives who met their death in the extermination camps.
John J. Neumaier and Diane Leonore Neumaier
John J. Neumaier is the son of Leonore Schwarz Neumaier and is president emeritus of SUNY New Paltz and former president of Moorhead State University, Minn. As a newspaper columnist for the Kingston Daily Freeman, he has written extensively about the Holocaust, about his mother and her fate, and about his experiences and firsthand observations of life in Nazi Germany before World War II. He lives in Poughkeepsie with his wife, Sara Fletcher Luther, a graduate of New Paltz' master's program in African Studies.
Diane Leonore Neumaier, professor of art photography and graduate director of the visual arts at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, N.J., is the granddaughter of the opera singer. Professor Neumaier is an internationally exhibited artist and the author of numerous critical texts on contemporary photography.
"Leonore Schwarz Neumaier - A Voice Silenced"
The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art is open Tuesday through Friday, noon-4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 p.m. Special hours may be arranged for organized tours and school groups. The museum is closed on legal and school holidays and the first three weeks of June. Please call ahead to confirm that the museum is open. For directions or additional museum information, call (845) 257-3844 or go to the Web site www.newpaltz.edu/museum.
Selected images from "Leonore Schwarz Neumaier - A Voice Silenced" are available online at www.newpaltz.edu/news/images/neumaier.html. Information on other upcoming arts events at SUNY New Paltz can be found online at www.newpaltz.edu or by calling (845) 257-3872.
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