We have started to email out letters to contributors to this Kitchener project, asking permission to draw on the photographs, letters, and documents that are viewable across this website – so that we can incorporate some of them as part of an exhibition on the Kitchener camp rescue.
As you will know, we have always intended to hold an exhibition day this year, to commemorate 80 years since the Kitchener rescue – and this is what we are now turning towards pulling together.
We cannot and will not use items in the exhibition if we don’t have your express written permission for this use. If you don’t want to have your images as part of the exhibition, it’s absolutely fine. You should not feel under any pressure whatsoever to agree if you’re not happy with it. Some families love the idea, but it won’t be for everyone – which is why we are asking this specific question. The permission letters give us material to draw on, but obviously, not everything for which we have permission can be included. There just won’t be space.
The letter we are sending out to all contributors over the course of this week is a separate permission to the one you signed to contribute to this website project.
It is separate because the exhibition will be a different kind of presentation.
As you will appreciate, once images have been incorporated into a six-foot banner stand, with many other images and text, it will not be possible to remove an image or images later on.
As you will also know, we are not a formal, funded body – but a loose group of Kitchener ‘descendant’ families who have come together with our small and not-so-small family archives to re-build the history of this extraordinary Kitchener rescue of thousands of Jewish men, and some women and children. It is a history that had largely been forgotten.
Because we are not funded, we are very much dependent on an institution stepping forward to effectively donate a space for this event. This is no small ‘ask’ on our part: central London is incredibly expensive for event space, and our ‘ask’ is for a venue that would usually cost thousands of pounds for a day’s hire.
So, while we understand that excitement is building – especially from families living overseas – please be patient with us just a little while longer, and please ignore any dates you might have heard on the grapevine – because *nothing has been fixed yet*.
As as soon as we have a date and a venue arranged, you will absolutely be the first people we tell.
What is a Travelling exhibition?
There wouldn’t be much point going to all this trouble for one day’s exhibition – however enjoyable we hope the day will be.
The exhibition will thus be ‘mobile’ – a travelling exhibition – and we hope there will be a good amount of interest from many institutions to host it in the future.
We are getting good vibes about this from quite a number of places, and look forward to many more people learning about the Kitchener rescue in future, as they have learned, for example, about the Kindertransport to date.
If you don’t know what a travelling exhibition looks like, you can see examples across the Internet. The Wiener Library, for example, which has been such a good friend to the Kitchener project, has a page about travelling exhibitions here: https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Travelling-Exhibitions
As you know, we are donating the Kitchener project to the Wiener, and the exhibition will also be donated into their care for the future.
Another example: World Jewish Relief, with which many of us are also familiar, has a travelling exhibition, here: https://www.worldjewishrelief.org/news/777-responding-to-the-present-by-remembering-the-past
The impressive Washington-based USHMM also produces travelling exhibitions, and info about this can be viewed here: https://www.ushmm.org/information/press/press-kits/traveling-exhibitions.
Having pointed you at the latter example, it is worth bearing in mind that USHMM has federal funding and there is no equivalent state investment in Holocaust education in the U.K. of which I am aware.
Even the small but highly influential Wiener Library runs mainly on private funding and donations, as I understand it, so we hope this puts into perspective what we’re trying to achieve in relation to Kitchener camp.
Coming this far this fast with the project has been both utterly unexpected and an incredible experience for everyone involved, I think – and many more people have now heard about the Kitchener rescue than was the case even a couple of years ago. But for this to become part of our national narratives about the Holocaust still requires much good will and the ongoing, considerable support of our many Kitchener families.
So – whether or not you are comfortable with your images being part of the exhibition, we sincerely hope you will be part of it, if you can, by joining us on the day.
And we promise to update you about the details as soon as we have them!
In the meantime, please watch out for the exhibition permission letter arriving in your inbox. It is as simple and straightforward as the one for the website, we hope, but is specifically for the exhibition, rather than the website.