The Arts Page | Program | #307 — Stitching History from the Holocaust


>>WELCOME TO THIS SPECIAL EDITION OF “THE ARTS PAGE.” I’M SANDY MAXX. WE’RE HERE AT THE JEWISH MUSEUM MILWAUKEE TO BRING YOU AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT AN EXTRAORDINARY STORY. IT’S BEEN ALMOST 70 YEARS SINCE THE END OF WORLD WAR II, AND THE TRAGEDY OF THE HOLOCAUST CAN SEEM DISTANT. MILWAUKEE WAS A PLACE FULL OF HOPE FOR ONE COUPLE IN PRAGUE, CZECHOSLOVAKIA. THEIR STORY WOULD HAVE BEEN LOST, EXCEPT FOR THE DISCOVERY OF A MISPLACED LETTER AND A SERIES OF DRESS DESIGNS. IN 1939, PAUL AND HEDWIG STRNAD KNEW THEY WERE IN A DANGEROUS PLACE AND WERE EAGER TO LEAVE EUROPE. TRAGICALLY, THE STRNADS DIED IN THE HOLOCAUST, BUT THROUGH A COLLABORATION WITH THE JEWISH MUSEUM MILWAUKEE AND THE MILWAUKEE REPERTORY THEATER, HEDWIG’S CREATIVE AND ARTISTIC TALENTS HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO LIFE. THIS STORY STARTS WITH A SINGLE LETTER.>>DECEMBER 11, 1939. DEAR ALVIN. I RECEIVED YOUR LAST LETTER, AND THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR KIND CARE. I WAS VERY GLAD TO HEAR THAT YOU ARE TROUBLING TO GET AN AFFIDAVIT OF NECESSITY FOR MY WIFE AS A DRESS DESIGNER. WOULD YOU BE SO KIND AS TO LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE HAD ANY SUCCESS IN THIS MATTER? YOU MAY IMAGINE THAT WE HAVE A GREAT INTEREST OF LEAVING EUROPE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE BECAUSE THERE IS NO POSSIBILITY OF GETTING A POSITION IN THIS COUNTRY. BY SEPARATE MAIL I HAVE SENT YOU SOME DRESS DESIGNS MY WIFE MADE. I HOPE THE DRESS MANUFACTURER YOU MENTIONED IN YOUR LETTER WILL LIKE THEM. HOPING TO HEAR VERY SOON FROM YOU. I REMAIN WITH KIND REGARDS TO YOU AND YOUR WIFE AND WITH THE BEST WISHES FOR THE NEW YEAR. YOURS SINCERELY, PAUL.>>THE HOLOCAUST HAPPENED TO REAL PEOPLE AND THE LOSS OF TALENT BECOMES APPARENT WHEN SOMETHING IS RECREATED OR CREATED FROM SOMETHING THAT IS LOST.>>HISTORY FROM THE HOLOCAUST IS REALLY A LOOK AT TWO DIFFERENT THINGS, IT’S A VERY INDIVIDUAL LOOK AT A SPECIFIC COUPLE, AND A SPECIFIC FAMILY, BUT ON A MUCH LARGER SCALE, IT ADDRESSES THE HUGE VOID OF TALENT. THE LOSS OF CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE WORLD THAT WERE NEVER ABLE TO BE BROUGHT TO FRUITION BECAUSE OF EVERYONE THAT PERISHED IN THE HOLOCAUST AND ALL THE HOPES AND DREAMS THAT PERISHED ALONG WITH THEM.>>THIS EXHIBIT TAKES EIGHT DESIGNS SENT TO MILWAUKEE IN 1939 FROM A COUPLE IN PRAGUE, HEDWIG STRNAD AND HER HUSBAND PAUL TO A MILWAUKEE COUSIN IN THE HOPES OF GETTING IMMIGRATION VISAS.>>WE KNEW WE HAD SOMETHING VERY EXTRAORDINARY, BECAUSE THE SKETCHES WERE BEAUTIFUL AND THE LETTER WAS POIGNANT.>>THE LETTERS HAVE BEEN IN THE COLLECTION OF THE MUSEUM SINCE BEFORE IT WAS A MUSEUM. THEY WERE GIVEN TO THE MILWAUKEE JEWISH ARCHIVES IN 1997, BY BURTON STRNAD, WHO WAS CLEANING OUT HIS MOTHER’S BASEMENT AND FOUND THEM. HE HAD NO IDEA THAT HIS MOTHER HAD HAD THIS CORRESPONDENCE.>>WITHIN THE ENVELOPE WAS A RED ENVELOPE AND WITHIN THE RED ENVELOPE WERE EIGHT DRESS DESIGNS, A PICTURE OF THE WOMAN AND HER HUSBAND AND AER LET TO BURT STRNAD’S FATHER AND IN THAT LETTER, THEY WERE SEEKING HELP IN. COMING TO AMERICA TO ESCAPE THE NAZIS IN PRAGUE.>>PAUL STRNAD IN PRAGUE KNEW THAT ALVINEHOUT WAS TRYING TO HELP HIM COME TO AMERICA WITH HIS WIFE AND HE ENCLOSED THE SKETCHES IN THE HOPE THAT — WOULD CONVINCE PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES THAT THEY WOULD NOT BE A BURDEN SON THE ECONOMY.>>BURTON STRNAD TURNED THEM OTHER TO THE ARCHIVES,NER KNOWING IF THEY WOULD BE ON DISPLAY, JUST IF THEY WOULD BE PRESERVED.>>THE SKETCHES WERE AN INDICATION OF TALENT THAT WAS LOST.>>AND WHEN THE MUSEUM WAS INSTALLED IN 2008, IT BECAME A FOCAL POINT OF OUR HOLOCAUST SECTION.>>ONE OF OUR VISITORS CAME IN AND WHETHER SHE CAME TO THIS SECTION, SHE SAID OH MY GOD, AND THE STORY IS SO POIGNANT. AND SHE SAID, THERE’S SO MUCH YOU COULD DO WITH THE DRESSES. I SAID LIKE WHAT? SHE SAID, OH, MAKE THEM.>>THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME WE KIND OF HAD THIS SENSE OF THE STORMY, THAT YOU COULD HAVE THIS KIND OF TANGIBLE FOCUS ON LOSS, AND FILLING THAT VOID IN SOME WAY.>>TO HELP US, FILL IN THE BLANKS OF WHO HEDWIG AND PAUL WERE, AND WHAT THIS LARGER MEANING OF THIS STORY IS.>>FROM THE FIRST LETTER, WE DID NOT EVEN KNOW PAUL’S WIFE’S NAME.>>IT STARTED AS THIS VERY SLOW PROCESS OF TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHO HAD WOMAN WAS, BECAUSE IN THE LETTER ITSELF, IT JUST SAYS MY WIFE IS A VERY TALENTED DRESS MAKER. SO WE WENT TO THE NAMES DATABASE AN RESEARCHED PAUL STRNAD AND IN RESEARCHING PAUL STRNAD FROM PRAGUE, WE FOUND A LIST OF PEOPLE, AND THEN WE TRIANGULATED OUT FROM THERE, THAT ONE PAUL STRNAD IS LISTED IN THE DATABASE AS HEDVIKA AND HER OCCUPATION AS LADY TAILOR AND NIECE LISTED AT THE BOTTOM AS THE PERSON WHO SUBMITTED THE PAGE OF TESTIMONY. SO WE CONSTITUTE OUR RESEARCH EFFORTS ON FINDING THE FAMILY THROUGH THE NAMES DATABASE BUT ALSO IN LOOKING FOR THAT NIECE, WHO WAS LIVING IN THE EARLY 1990’S, WHEN SHE SUBMITTED THIS PAGE OF TESTIMONY.>>PAUL’S NIECES LISA LOT AND BRIDGETTE NORMAN, THEY WEPT ON THE LEFT TRANSPORT THAT LEFT PRAGUE AND THEY ARE ALIVE AND WE COULD NOT FIND THEM AND WE TRIED FOR TWO YEARS TO FIND THEM, AND QUITE BY CHANCE, WE HAVE A YOUNG STUDENT AT LAWRENCE UNIVERSITY WHO WAS DOING A INTERNSHIP AT THE BERLIN JEWISH MUSEUM, AND WE SORT OF TOSSED OFF THE IDEA THAT MAYBE HE COULD LOOK YET ONE MORE TIME, COULD HE LOOK ONE MORE TIME FOR BRIDGET AND HE FOUND HER AND WE MADE CONTACT. WE LEARNED MORE ABOUT HEDWIG AS WELL, WE FOUND OUT HER NAME. WE THOUGHT HER NAME WAS HEDVIKA, WHICH WAS IN CZECH, BUT THAT WAS HOW SHE WAS IDENTIFIED ON ALL OF THE CONCENTRATION CAMP RECORDS BUT THE FAMILY SPOKE GERMAN, SO SHE WAS KNOWN AS HEDWIG OR HEDDIE AND THAT CHANGED AGAIN, HOW WE THOUGHT ABOUT HER. THE OTHER THINGS WE LEARNED IS THAT SHE HAD RED HAIR, WHICH, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU HAVE BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOS, BEING ABLE TO HAVE THAT ONE KIND OF VISUAL DETAIL, GIVES YOU A SENSE OF WHO THIS WOMAN WAS, THAT SHE WAS A RED HEAD.>>AND THAT SHE OPENED HER OWN STUDIO. SHE WAS NINE WHEN SHE LEFT CZECHOSLOVAKIA ON KINDER TRANSPORT, WAS ABLE TO — RECALL GOING TO HER AUNT’S STUDIO AND HAVING PEOPLE WHO WORK THERE CREATE DOLL CLOTHES FROM PUPPETS FOR HER AND THAT GAVE US A SENSE OF WHO THESE PEOPLE WERE AND WHAT THEY DID.>>SHE WAS A FAVORITE AUNT, AND PAUL WAS A FAVORITE UNCLE. OF BRIDGETTE, SO WE GOT THE SENSE THAT SHE WAS A REALLY NICE PERSON AND THAT THEY WERE FINE PEOPLE AND WELL LIKED.>>THE EXHIBIT WAS KIND OF BUILT OUT OF THIS 1939 LETTER, WHICH WE KNEW FROM THE ENVELOPE THAT IT ARRIVED IN, AND WAS STAMPED WITH NAZI SIGNAGE OR NAZI SYMBOLISM, THAT IT WAS A LETTER THAT WAS CENSORED, AND SO THE LANGUAGE, IT’S NOT AS URGENT AS YOU WOULD EXPECT A FAMILY PUTTING OUT A PLEA FOR HELP TO HAVE BEEN.>>WE FOUND ANOTHER LETTER THAT CAME ONE YEAR BEFORE THE INITIAL LETTER THAT WE HAVE, THE FIRST LETTER WE HAVE IS FROM DECEMBER 1939, WHICH IS AFTER WORLD WAR II STARTED. THE OTHER LETTER IS OCTOBER, 1938. AND WHAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT WITHOUT THE CENSORSHIP, PAUL STRNAD, ITS IS ACTING OPENLY WITHOUT CENSORSHIP FOR THE SENSE OF BETRAYAL HE FEELS WHEN THE MUNICH PACT HAS BEEN SIGNED AND HE FEELS THAT THE ALLIES HAVE BETRAYED HIS COUNTRY AND GIVEN AWAY PIECES OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA, ITS AREA CALLED THE SUDATAN LAND.>>STRONG ANTI-SEMITIC TENDENCIES HAVE MADE THEMSELVES FELT. SUCH TENDENCIES HAVE NEVER BEEN FELT BEFORE IN THE COUNTRY. WHEN THEY EVEN PRESUME THAT THEY WILL SPREAD ALL OVER EUROPE, NOTHING WILL REMAIN THEREFORE TO DO BUT TO ADAPT ONE’S SELF TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES AND TO CONSIDER EMIGRATING FROM EUROPE.>>HE IS FEARFUL THAT ALL OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA WILL BE TAKEN OVER BY THE NAZIS, WHICH TURNED OUT TO BE TRUE, THAT ANTI-SEMITISM WILL OVERWHELM EUROPE, WHICH TURNED OUT TO BE TRUE, AN THAT HE AND HIS FAMILY MUST LEAVE EUROPE OR THEIR LIVES WILL BE IN DANGER, WHICH ALSO TURNS OUT TO BE UNFORTUNATELY TRUE.>>I AM WRITING THEREFORE TO ASK YOU WHETHER THERE IS A POSSIBILITY OF EMIGRATING TO THE U.S.A., WHERE I AND MY WIFE MY FIND SOME OCCUPATION. MY WIFE IS 39. AND FOR THE LAST 17 YEARS, HAS BEEN RUNNING AS PROPRIETORS A FIRST-CLASS DRESS MAKING ESTABLISHMENT. SHE HAS A NUMBER OF WORK PEOPLE, AN ENJOYS A VERY GOOD REPUTATION IN PRAGUE. AS SHE IS VERY DILIGENT. AS A FIRST CLASS KNOWLEDGE OF HER LINE AND HAS VERY GOOD TASTE.>>OUR DIRECTOR, KATHY BERNSTEIN, APPROACHED THE MILWAUKEE REPARATORY THEATER, AND SPOKE WITH THE COSTUME DEPARTMENT.>>OUR SHOT MANAGER FROM LAST SEASON WAS CONTACTED BY THE MUSEUM ABOUT THIS PROJECT, AND AFTER SHE SAW THE DRAWINGS, SHE WAS SO EXCITED ABOUT THE PROJECT THAT SHE SAID, WE’RE IN. THERE ARE COATS, SUITS, DRESSES, THERE’S A FORMAL DRESS. I DON’T THINK THEY ARE ALL PART OF ONE COLLECTION, ALTHOUGH WE ARE SHOWING THEM AS ONE COLLECTION WHEN YOU SEE THE COLORS, IT’S REALLY SURPRISING TO KNOW THAT HERE’S A PERSON THAT WAS IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA DURING THE HOLOCAUST AND WE HAVE THE REALLY BRIGHTLY COLORED DRESSES.>>SO WE RECEIVED COPIES OF THE RENDERINGS, AND THEN AS PROJECT MANAGER ON THIS, I DID A BUNCH OF RESEARCH INTO THE PERIOD, PERIOD FASHION. USING PERIOD CATALOGS, MAGAZINE MAGAZINES.>>WE GATHER ALL OF OUR RESEARCH AND THEN IT’S TIME TO CREATE PATTERNS. WE TAKE FABRIC, CHEAP MUSLIN AND SHAPE IT ON THE FORM TO CREATE THE PATTERNS. WE THEN CUT OUT THE PATTERN OUT OF AN INEXPENSIVE FABRIC, WE MAKE A MOCKUP OF THE FABRIC, SO THAT WE CAN CORRECT ALL THE PROBLEMS IN THE PATTERNS, WITHOUT HAVING TO CUT INTO THE FABRIC.>>THE DRAPER HANDS OFF THE PATTERNS TO US, ONCE THEY’RE READY, AND WE CUT OUT THE FABRIC AND THEN WE HAND OFF THE PIECES, THE GARMENT PIECES TO THE STEPPERS TO ASSEMBLE.>>THE TAILORS TECHNIQUES WE’RE USING ARE OLD STANDARD TECHNIQUES THAT THEY WOULD HAVE USED BACK IN THE 1930’S, THAT ACTUALLY WE STILL USED TO.>>THERE WAS QUITE A BIT OF HAND STITCHING, THE PAD STIPULATING AND THE BOUND BUTTON HOLES ARE ALL DONE BY HAND.>>ALL THE DRESSES ARE MADE OF NATURAL FIBERS, AND FABRICS THAT WE WOULD HAVE FOUND IN THIS TIME PERIOD, IN THE 1930’S. THE ONLY SYNTHETIC THAT I CAN THINK THAT WE ARE USING IS THE THREAD THAT HOLDS THEM TOGETHER, BUT JESSICA HAS TRIED VERY, VERY HARD TO BE AS FAITHFUL TO THE PERIOD AS WE CAN.>>USING THINGS LIKE FIBERS LIKE WOOL, SILK, RAY I DON’TON AND WS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN POPULAR IN THE TIME PERIOD. WE HAVE WOOL FLANNEL, AND PLAIN WOVEN RAYON. THREE OF THE LOOKS HAVE PRINTED FABRICS IN THEY WILL AND WE OBVIOUSLY COULDN’T SOURCE THOSE EXACT PRINTS, SO WE HAD TO FIND SOMEBODY TO CREATE THEM.>>MARGARET HAS RECREATED THE PRINTS THAT HEDWIG DREW IN HER DRAWINGS. WHAT’S REALLY UNIQUE ABOUT THESE IS YOU CAN SEE THE DIRECT CORRELATION BETWEEN THE SURREALIST MOVEMENT IN ART, AND THE PRINTS, AND MARGARET WENT BEYOND HEDWIG’S DESIGNS, AND SHE WENT AND SHE DID RESEARCH ON HER OWN, AND RESEARCHED TECH TILES OF THE PERIOD, AND ART OF THE PERIOD OF TIME AND REALLY BROUGHT AN AUTHENTICITY TO IT.>>WE BUILT THESE DRESSES TO AN AVERAGE SIZE, TODAY’S SIZE 6, WHICH BACK THEN, WOULD HAVE BEEN A SIZE 16, WHICH IS THE — WELL, AVERAGE SIZE OF A WOMAN BACK THEN. WHAT’S REALLY UNIQUE ABOUT HER DESIGNS ARE THE COLORS, THE DETAILS, AND THE PRINTS, THEY’RE NOT SOMETHING THAT YOU WOULD FIND IN THE STORE AT THAT TIME.>>IN ADDITION TO THE GARMENTS, THE EIGHT GARMENTS, THERE WERE ALSO ACCESSORIES THAT WERE DEPICTED IN THE FASHION RENDERINGS, SO WE HAD HATS, AND THERE WERE SOME PURPOSES, — PURSES, WE FOUND GLOVES AND WE ALSO SHOPPED SHOES.>>WE FELT WE WOULD GET BEAUTIFUL RENDERINGS. WHAT WE HADN’T UNDERSTOOD IS THAT THIS MILWAUKEE REPARATORY THEATER COSTUME SHOP WENT ABOVE AND BEYOND WHAT WE THOUGHT.>>THERE IS NO PLACE THAT WAS BETTER OUTFITTED THAN THE MILWAUKEE REP’S COSTUME SHOP TO DO THIS. THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO UNDERSTAND HISTORICAL RESEARCH WITH CLOTHING, THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO UNDERSTAND HOW TO DEVELOP A DESIGN AND TO TAKE IT THROUGH A WHOLE SCHEMATIC AND GO THROUGH THESE THINGS AND THEY WERE ABLE TO BRING THESE LEVEL OF PROFESSIONALISM, THAT I DON’T THINK ANY OF US ENTIRELY ACCOUNTED FOR.>>THEY ALSO POINTED OUT THE CHALLENGES VERY QUICKLY ABOUT MAKING THE DRESSES. WE THOUGHT THIS WAS SUCH AN EAST PART OF THE EXHIBIT THAT OUR RESEARCH PART WAS GOING TO BE SO MUCH MORE CHALLENGING.>>THEY WERE GIVEN THESE TWO DIMENSIONAL PAINTINGS, OR DRAWINGS, THAT YOU COULDN’T SEE WHAT THE BACK WAS, YOU CERTAINLY — THERE WAS NO INDICATION OF WHAT THE FABRICS WERE, THERE WAS NO INDICATION OF YOU KNOW, IF A DARK SPOT WAS A SHADOW, OR IS IT A FOLD, IS IT A PLEAT?>>SO EVERYTHING THAT YOU SEE ON DISMAY HERE, IS THE WORK OF INTERPRETATION BY THE MILWAUKEE REPARATORY THEATERS COSTUME DEPARTMENT.>>AFTER WE GOT THIS INTERVIEW WITH BRIDGETA, SHE SENT US IN A COUPLE OF MONTHS LATER A LETTER AND IT’S EERIE WHEN YOU GET A LETTER AND IT HAS THE EXACT SAME HANDWRITING OF SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN DECEASED FOR A LONG TIME AND IT’S THE EXACT SAME HANDWRITING IN GERMAN FROM PAUL STRNAD TO HIS BROTHER-IN-LAW. THERE’S A SHORT NOTE AT THE BOTTOM SAYING LOVED TO YOUR CHILDREN, WE TOOK THAT SIGNATURE AND WE HAD IT CLEANED UP. THE REP ACTUALLY DESIGN A LABELED, LOOKING AT WHAT OTHER HISTORIC FASHION HOUSE LABELS OF THAT TIME, AND SO IT SAYS HEDDIE ORIGINAL, WHICH IS THE SENSE THAT THESE ARE HEDDIE ORIGINALS. EACH ONE OF THE GARMENTS IS FINISHED WITH THAT MATERIAL AND IT LOOKS AS THOUGH SHE’S PUT HER STAMP OF APPROVAL ON THE GARMENTS.>>TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THESE WERE HER DESIGNS AND HER DREAMS, THAT WAS KIND OF THE PERFECT FINISHING DETAIL.>>WE ARE IN AWE OF THE CARE THAT THEY TOOK, AND THEY FELL IN LOVE WITH THE STORY.>>IT WASN’T ENOUGH TO JUST COPY. THEY WANTED TO BE FAITHFUL, TO HEDDIE’S DESIGNS.>>THEY IMBUED IT WITH SUCH LOVE AND DEVOTION, THE WORK ETHIC IS IMPECCABLE, AND IT REALLY EXCEEDED ALL OF OUR EXPECTATIONS, IN TERMS OF BRINGING THIS COLLECTION TO LIFE. AND NOW WE HAVE THIS SERIES OF ENSEMBLES THAT ARE PART OF A LARGER STORY.>>WE KNOW THAT ALVIN SUBMITTED IMMIGRATION DOCUMENTS FOR THEM AND WE KNOW THAT THEY WEREN’T ABLE TO ESCAPE.>>WE FOUND OUT FIRST OF ALL THAT PAUL AND HEDWIG ALONG WITH ALL OF PAUL’S FAMILY, WERE ALL TRANSPORTED TO THE CONCENTRATION CAMP, AND WE FOUND THAT AS WE DID MORE AND MORE RESEARCH, THAT MOST CZECH JEWS WENT TO THIS CAMP AND THE STORY OF THE HOLOCAUST IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT THAN THE HISTORY THE JEWS OF THE REST OF EUROPE.>>PAUL AND HEDDIE ARE DEPORTED TO THE CAMP IN 1942. IT WAS THE MAJOR TRANSIT CAMP FOR ALL CZECH JEWS. THERE WERE A NUMBER OF ARTISTS AND LEADERS AND IN FACT, GERMAN INTELLECTUALS WERE OFTEN SENT TO THE CAMP AS KIND OF A FIRST POINT BEFORE THEY WERE SENT FURTHER EAST, BECAUSE THIS IS THE WAY OF SAYING NO, WE JUST RESET HE WOULD THEM THERE. SO THIS WAS THIS CULTURAL OF RIFE THAT EXISTED AT THE CAMP. WE KNOW THAT BOTH PAUL AND HEDWIG WERE TRANSPORTED FROM THE CAMP TO WARSAW, AND THAT’S WHERE WE LOSE THEM.>>WE DON’T KNOW THE EXACT CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THEIR DEATH, BUT WE DO KNOW THAT THEY PERISHED IN THE HOLOCAUST.>>WE FOUND OUT THAT EVERYONE IN PAUL’S FAMILY PERISHED IN THE HOLOCAUST, SO THAT IT SERVES AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE STORY OF CZECH JEWS.>>IT MADE ME REALIZE HOW MANY PEOPLE WE HAVE LOST TO THIS HOLOCAUST. THE ARTISTS, THE WRITERS, ALL THE CREATIVE TYPES THAT WE WOULD NEVER SEE THEIR WORK.>>ND LOOKING AT THESE DRESSES, THAT’S WHAT THIS IS ABOUT. WHAT COULD HEDWIG STRNAD HAVE DONE BEYOND THAT? WHAT COULD ANYBODY WHO HAD TALENT, WHAT ARE WE MISSING IN OUR WORLD TODAY WITHOUT ALL OF THAT CREATIVITY.>>WHEN YOU HIGHLIGHT THE LIFE OF ONE PERSON, AND YOU RESEARCH THAT LIFE, AND THAT PERSON BECOMES A REAL PERSON, THESE DRESSES, SHE NEVER HAD THE CHANCE TO MAKE, BUT CLEARLY MADE MANY OTHER DRESSES, AND NOW, WE SEE WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE. SHE’S NOT JUST A NUMBER. BUT SHE’S SOMEONE WHO COULD HAVE BEEN AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN AND SHE’S REAL.>>SHE’S MORE THAN JUST A DRESS MAKER. SHE’S AN ARTIST. I REALLY RESPECT HER AS AN ARTIST. SHE HAD A VISION THAT WAS OUT OF THE ORDINARY, AND I REALLY WOULD WANT TO TELL HER THAT I REALLY RESPECT HER WORK AS AN ARTIST.>>TO ALL OF THESE DECADES LATER, TO BE ABLE TO KIND OF GO BACK AND CREATE SOMETHING THAT WE KNOW HEDWIG AND HOPEFULLY PAUL WOULD HAVE BEEN VERY PROUD OF, IS SUCH AN HONOR AND A PRIVILEGE FOR US.>>I THINK SHE WOULD BE EXCITED AND PLEASED THAT SOMEONE, SO MANY YEARS LATER, YOU KNOW, TOOK THE TIME TO REALIZE THESE DESIGNS.>>I THINK THAT THE REASON THAT IT WILL BE MOVING IS BECAUSE HER DREAM IS REALIZED, BECAUSE WE WERE ABLE TO DO SOMETHING SO UNIQUE, WE’VE NOW TAKEN HEDWIG’S DESIGN AND HAVE MADE THEM THREE DIMENSIONAL.>>IT’S QUITE AMAZING, THE AMOUNT OF DETAIL THAT THEY WERE ABLE TO EXECUTE IN DOING THIS, AND THEY ARE VERY MUCH HAVE A COUTURE FEELING.>>I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW THAT SHE WOULD BE PROUD OF US. YOU KNOW, I WOULD WANT TO KNOW THAT WE DID IT RIGHT.>>IF HEDWIG WAS ALIVE, I HOPE SHE WOULD LIKE THE CRAFTSMANSHIP OF THE DRESSES BUT ALSO APPRECIATE THE WAY THAT WE’RE TELLING HER STORY, THAT WE DIDN’T WANT THIS TO BE A FASHION SHOW. WE WANTED THIS TO BE A REALLY LOVING TRIBUTE TO WHO THIS PERSON WAS, AND SO THIS IS AN EXHIBIT THAT SHOWS YOU THE POWER OF PRESERVATION, NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE WITHOUT THAT INITIAL DONATION TO THIS MUSEUM.>>AND WE WERE ABLE TO PULL HEDDIE’S AND PAUL’S STORY SO BEYOND THE EIGHT DRAWINGS WITH THE LETTER WHICH IS SO POIGNANT.>>AS I SPEAK ABOUT THE STORY TO PEOPLE WHO ARE UNRELATED TO MILWAUKEE, JEWISH AND NONJEWISH, YOUNG AND OLD, THEY ARE CAPTIVATED BY THE STORY.>>ALL OF US HAVE BEEN INVOLVED WITH THE PROJECT, WOULD HOPE THAT SHE WOULD BE REALLY PLEASED, AND THAT SHE WOULD BE HONORED THAT WE ALL THOUGHT ENOUGH ABOUT HER AND THE VALUE OF HER LIFE, AND HER DREAMS TO TRY AND BRING SOME OF IT TO LIFE, SO I HOPE THAT SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN PROUD AND SHE WOULD HAVE GIVEN HER BLESSING TO US.>>I THINK THAT THE LEGACY OF THE STRNADS, PAUL AND HEDWIG, ONE OF A COUPLE THAT WAS TRULY IN LOVE WITH EACH OH BUT ALSO A COUPLE THAT WAS A REAL PARTNERSHIP, IS KIND OF INTERESTING THAT IN 1939, RATHER THAN REPRESENTING HIS OWN TALENTS AS A BANKER, HIS OWN WORK, THIS IS A MAN WHO IS SAYING MY WIFE IS A VERY TALENTED DRESS MAKER. THIS IS GOING TO BE ITS THING THAT WE TRAVEL, HER WORK IS THE WORK THAT IS GOING TO ENABLE US TO SURVIVE.>>WHEREVER YOU HAVE GENOCIDE, YOU HAVE LOST TALENT. THAT THE WORLD IS LESS BECAUSE THEIR LIVES WERE SNUFFED OUT AND THEIR TALENTS WERE NEVER REALIZED.>>SO THIS IS A WAY OF EXPLORING ONE PERSON OUT OF SIX MILLION. AND WHO THAT PERSON WAS, WHAT TALENTS THEY BROUGHT TO THIS WORLD, WHAT THEY COULD HAVE DONE,.>>BUT HOPEFULLY PEOPLE WALK AWAY AND THEY WILL HAVE BEEN ENRICHED BY IT AND HOPEFULLY CAN GIVE PAUSE TO THINK ABOUT THEIR FAMILY, THEIR HISTORY, AND WHAT THEY CAN DO TO PAY HONOR TO THAT MOVING FORWARD.>>HISTORY FROM THE HOLOCAUST IS SON DISPLAY NOW AT THE JEWISH MUSEUM MILWAUKEE THROUGH FEBRUARY 28 OF 2015. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE EXHIBIT, VISIT THEIR WEB SITE. STITCHINGHISTORY.ORG. I’M SANDY MAXX. THANKS FOR WATCHING THIS SPECIAL EPISODE, AND WE’LL SEE YOU ON THE NEXT EDITION OF “THE ARTS PAGE.”