Exhibit honoring Holocaust survivors now on display at Basilica

For the next month, the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis is hosting an exhibit that shines a light on a dark moment in history.

"Transfer of Memory" features portraits of Holocaust survivors with ties to Minnesota. The project started in 2010 in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. It has since traveled to more than 50 locations across the Upper Midwest.

Reva Kibort is featured in one of the photographs with her husband, Ben, who also survived the Holocaust. 

“It brings back all the memories, and what a waste. What a waste of people. Terrible,” Kibort said. “So many years later, and it's still fresh in my memory. Unbelievable.”

As a young child, Kibort survived the Warsaw Ghetto and two labor camps, before coming to Minnesota after liberation. 

“When I was a little girl in Poland, I wasn't that welcome in churches," Kibort said. "And it is quite a thing, we have come a long, long way, and it's a beautiful thing that this is happening." 

Ben Kibort died six years ago. However, the smiles in the Kiborts’ portrait tell a story of hope for a brighter future.

“I have nine grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren and one other one the way. We have to make up for what Hitler killed,” Kibort said. 

The exhibit has 44 portraits, featuring 52 survivors. More than 20 have died since the project began. 

“I only wish this could have happened many, many years ago. We would be able to talk to one another, and learn about one another, about each other's religions. And maybe things would have been different then,” Kibort said. 

“Unfortunately we still have a lot of people that don’t believe that the Holocaust existed,” Kibort said.

“This is important, that it did exist. They have to meet somebody that did go through it. And if these pictures prove that it is, then it's a wonderful thing.” 

Leadership from the church and the Jewish Community Relations Council hope the exhibit’s current placement in the Basilica shows a strong bridge between Catholic and Jewish communities in the Twin Cities. 

“For Catholics, I think it's extremely important that we tell the story of the Holocaust, that we acknowledge the fact that we as Christians actually perpetuated antisemitism for 1900 years, 1950 years,” said Johan van Parys, Director of Director of Liturgy & Sacred Arts at the Basilica. “We cannot undo our history, but we can build a future that is very different.” 

“We cannot forget. We have to remember what happened. We have to speak up whenever we see intolerance happening to other people,” Kibort said. “This has got to be carried on, not only for my sake anymore. It's got to be carried on for other generations because things do repeat themselves you know, and this can never happen again.”

The photographs in the exhibit were taken by photographer David Sherman. 
“Transfer of Memory” is on display at the Basilica through March 11. To learn more about the exhibit, click here.