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I got an email last week from a researcher working for the Fritz Bauer Institut in Frankfurt. She is looking for photos of pre-Shoah Jewish life in the area. This is the email I got:

**** Search for private photos from Hesse *****
( the areas around Frankfurt,Darmstadt, Wiesbaden,
Kassel, Fulda, Marburg, Hanau, Giessen, etc.)

This is to announce the development of a new photo web site:

BEFORE THE HOLOCAUST – PHOTOS OF JEWISH EVERYDAY LIFE IN HESSEN

We are appealing for help with our search from private sources for copies of pre WW II photos originating from the Hessian territories (today the State of Hessen).

Please have a new look at your family heirlooms and share your photo treasures with us. All details can be handled according to the wishes of the owner or provider.

Advice for the technical procedures will be given. And please pass this request on to other persons with family ties to Hesse.

Old photos for young Germans

German school books often use (negative) stereotypes of Jews in history to explain victimization over the centuries.

And Holocaust teaching mostly speaks about abstract victims of
persecution or simply of numbers.

To overcome these shortcomings in education, and to allow for empathy and a more personal understanding, teachers and students should be supplied with a different sources as well.

As a contemporary approach, on-line tools are to be developed, a new photo database will be created which will provide images of real people. They will be seen as individuals, with faces and their names, in family settings or small groups, and in their home towns and villages.

Once, before the Nazi period, there was a thriving Jewish population in Hesse. How did Jews live here in over 300 small and medium size villages, towns and cities? This will be shown with photos of individuals, families, and activities in their communal environment.

Pictures of everyday life, religious events, festivities, of business and sports and other forms of public life will be presented. Visual
impressions will be amended by textual descriptions and comments.

This will contribute to a more accurate image of the diversity and also the normality of Jewish existence in the decades before 1933. But the years after the Nazis took over will also be documented. Thus the beginning of the Nazi persecution and its effects on Jewish life can be estimated more accurately. Photos of the emigration and escape are welcome as well.

For technical quality it would be good to have the photos in 300 dpi or 600 dpi (original size) uncompressed.

If your photos are already scanned in a lower dpi version you can send them and I will find out if that also would be okay for the project. That always depends on the original photos.

For each photo I would like to have some short information, if possible of course

  • who is on the photo , year of birth, place of birth if possible
  • if it is a group only the main figures
  • where was it taken? Which city or village
  • was it taken in the house of the family, or in barn or (if possible)
  • when taken – around what year??
  • occasion of taken the photo
  • occupation of the person like cattle trader or so
  • later emigrated from Nazi-Germany to which country
  • later perished in the Holocaust

If your photos are already scanned in a lower dpi version you can send them and I will find out if that also would be okay for the project. That always depends on the original photos.

This is a project of the *** Fritz Bauer Institute *** Education
Department 

www.fritz-bauer-institut.de

The Institute is a Research And Documentation Center For The History And The Impact Of The Holocaust, Education Department, in Frankfurt/Germany

www.fritz-bauer-institut.de/english.htm

For further information please contact Monica Kingreen:

M.Kingreen@fritz-bauer-institut.de or Kingreen@gmx.net
phone +49 (0) 69-798 322 31     fax +49 (0) 69–798 322 41

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New look

As you will notice there is a new look to Rafi’s Studio! I was a bit bored of the old theme and this new one looks a bit more stylish so here goes. Any comments from the readership?

I have also just completed reorganizing all my categories and recategorizing the 238 posts that make up this blog into a more logical and consistent categorization. I have tried to group categories together so that they also make sense, but some of the categories that I reckon should go together are still hanging around ungrouped. I suppose I’ll have to mull on it… Any ideas?

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I am in the middle of changing my website (not my blog – at least not for now) host at the moment.

Up till now my site http://www.rafistern.com has been hosted with GoDaddy.com.  My hosting agreement with them is about to run out and I have been sufficiently annoyed by them over the last two years that I have decided to invest valuable painting time in transfering my site to a new hoster – LunarPages.

So what’s wrong with GoDaddy? Apart from having a really silly name (the kind you’re embarrassed by when you have to explain to a computer-outsider where your site is hosted), I have over the last while got a bit frustrated with the features and service that they provide.

First off, their admin interface is bloated and sooooooo slow. Secondly the option that they offer to configure are rather basic. Now that I am setting up my site on LunarPages I realize just how basic they are – one database login with full admin privileges only, that I couldn’t do a database backup at all, the ability to run the site in medium trust only (see here for the grief that caused me).

Anyway, I am currently in the process of moving to LunarPages. I have only been dealing with them for a few days but the difference is so big that I felt I had to write about it. First off, they give lots of features for a good price. I am paying $9.95pm for ASP.Net hosting with a virtually unlimited MS SQL database. That is all I really need. Add to that unlimited email addresses, a mailing list and a whole load of junk I don’t need, that’s pretty good. Next – and this is why I chose them – they have an excellent reputation for uptime and customer service. So far I can vouch for the service. I got a reply to a pre-sales question in record time and they are currently helping me set up my database (admittedly with some problems) and I am getting prompt and comprehensive answers from tech support even at the weekend. Their control panel is fast even from Israel and is really fully-featured as if I was sitting on the server itself. They use Plesk for their IIS and file management and myLittleAdmin for SQL which blew me away after using the interface that Godaddy were giving me.

My timetable is that I need to get everything set up by the end of the week and then I point the domain (still registered via GoDaddy) to the Lunarpages DNS server and open a new chapter.

In the new site there will be a couple of enhancements, including PayPal shopping cart integration which is a pretty major feature, and some usability features and cosmetics. I am also including a new policy section including shipping, privacy and copyright policies. Maybe I will devote blog entries to explain those over next weeks.

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If you are a member of the press, then this one is for you. If not, then you may be interested as well.

The official exhibition press release can be downloaded here in Hebrew and English. The English text appears below.


Rafi Stern
Tel: 054-5664305
Email: rafi@rafistern.com
Web: http://www.rafistern.com
Haim Ben Shlomo
Nofim Gallery
24 Ben Sira St, Jerusalem 94181
Tel: 050-5578253
Email: hbens@netvision.net.il
Web: http://www.nofimgallery.com

5 June 2008

Exhibition opening of work by artist Rafi Stern

On Thursday 3rd July an art exhibition opens at the “Nofim” gallery in Jerusalem showing work by the artist Rafi Stern. Rafi, a resident of Beit Shemesh, has exhibited work in various exhibitions – the last being at the Beit Shemesh Festival last fall.

Rafi specializes in painting Israeli landscapes and scenes and works in a style that blends between realism and impressionism. His paintings including views of Jerusalem, the Galilee and the area around his home town. One of the subjects Rafi particularly enjoys painting is water and he has done several paintings of the Banias and upper Jordan River. “What I like is the contrast between the movement of the water and the landscape”, he explains “water has the immediacy of the movement, reflections, and light and shade as well as the depth and breadth of the scene”.

Rafi emigrated to Israel from England in 1990. He excelled in art in high school but chose not to pursue his talent as a career. A few years ago he returned to art and started taking evening lessons. “I studied engineering and work in software development”, he says “I returned to art in order to return creativity to my life”. In the meantime his work his garnered much praise and also demand.

The exhibition opens on Thurday 3rd July with an opening evening between 18:00-20:00 at which it will be possible to meet and speak with the artist. After that, the exhibition is open daily and will run until Tuesday 15th July. The Nofim Gallery is situated at 24 Ben Sira St. in Jerusalem, near the Mamilla junction.

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This is the announcement I promised earlier this week.

Yesterday I concluded the details with Haim at Nofim for my solo exhibition. The exhibition will open on Thursday 3rd July and run till 15th July.

There will be an opening night on Thursday 3rd July from 18:00-20:00, where you will be able to mix and mingle with the many guests who will doubtlessly be there 🙂 and meet and talk with me in person.

So now I have loads of work to do. I have to write lots of PR stuff, prepare and print flyers (that is part fo my deal with Haim), email, post, talk, beg, cajole….

I have made myself a project plan in MS Project (geek!) and I am making a list of artifacts to prepare, tasks to do. Busy time.

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If you go to my website and you are particularly sharp eyed, you may notice that I have just switched on the new version of the site. If you can’t see the difference, then don’t worry – that’s the idea :-).

The new site is built in the latest version of ASP.Net instead of the old one that was in older obsolete ASP technology. As you can see, it looks more or less the same, but underneath it is all new.

The only practical difference is that if you have an old bookmark to the site, then you may want to update it. All the URLs work the same except they have “.aspx” at the ends of the page names instead of “.asp”. There is a redirector there to help you get where you want, even if you use an old URL but you can save time by bookmarking the new one.

In the next while, I will now be adding new things to the site, so keep watch.

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Going down under

I’m on my way this evening to Australia to visit my brother there, so my next post will from down under.

When I get back I have got loads of work to do getting ready for the show in early summer. More on this later.

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