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Dodd Center sculpture honors work of Holocaust survivor
By Sherry Fisher March 28, 1997
Two figures, arms touching, stare from behind barbed wire. Their faces are devoid of detail; their eyes are vacant and hollow. The images, hammered out of lead, are surrounded by broken pieces of wood.
Dana Baldwin Naumann created the sculpture "Holocaust: Never Forget ... Never Again," which he donated to the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. The work is on permanent display in the building.
"The faces are faces that I remember very well," said Sigmund Strochlitz, a Holocaust survivor for whom the work is dedicated.
Naumann decided on the sculptures name after learning more about the Holocaust.
"The more I know about it, the more I am just amazed that human beings could do that to each other," he said. "It was a horrible inquisition. Some or all may forgive, but forgiveness is a very personal thing. But we must never ever let it happen again."
The artist, who lives in Branford, works mostly in metals. Naumann considers himself a Christian and many of his creations have spiritual titles, but he is not a member of any church, a profile in the New Haven Register noted.
Strochlitz, born in Poland in 1917, survived several concentration camps, including Auschwitz. His parents and sisters were killed.
Strochlitz, the organizer of many Holocaust observances, said the sculpture is "very meaningful."
"Dana is not looking for any rewards and yet he will be rewarded a thousand times, knowing that people from all walks of life will be moved by the sculpture, go back to study history to find out what happened in Germany in those dreadful years and why it happened," Strochlitz said.
"I would like to point out to you that strange as it may sound, the Jewish people in the ghettos and some concentration camps and especially in Teeresienstadt, turned to art ... to reassure our humanity, to fight back with the only weapon, the human spirit."
Strochlitz, a New London resident, is the owner of Whaling City Ford. Over the years, he has played a leading role in organizing official Holocaust observances in all 50 states. He received a mandate for this mission from the United States Holocaust Memorial Council to which he was appointed by former President Carter and reappointed by President Reagan.
In 1981, Strochlitz and his wife, Rose, also a Holocaust survivor, endowed the Strochlitz Chair and Institute in Holocaust Studies at Haifa University in Israel. In 1986, he was named the second recipient of the Elie Wiesel Remembrance Award. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.
"The work has been donated to the Dodd Center by Dana Baldwin Naumann in honor of Sigmund Strochlitz for all he has done to commemorate Holocaust survivors," said Linda Perrone, director of development for University libraries. "As a major benefactor and friend of the Dodd Center, it seemed most appropriate that the work be placed here."