Four museums from both sides of the Atlantic—La Fabrique des Savoirs in Elbeuf (Réunion des Musées Métropolitains Rouen Normandie), the Musée d'Histoire de Marseille, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), and the Montreal Holocaust Museum—have come together to highlight the fates of Jews persecuted by the Nazi regime, with the virtual exhibition Ports of Exile, Home Harbours.
Rouen, Marseille, and Montreal are three port cities that were built on trade. Their museums hold collections that not only bear witness to a past of conquest and splendour but also preserve memories from history’s darkest days. With this virtual exhibition on three locations, two French and two Canadian institutions wanted to pay tribute to the Jewish men and women whose fates were marked extraordinarily by both victory and tragedy.
From Normandy in the occupied zone to Provence in the free zone, Ports of Exile, Home Harbours reconstructs the fates of French and European Jewish men and women who were hunted down by Nazi occupiers and accomplices or by the Vichy regime and whose paths ended in deportation or exile. Against the backdrop of the Second World War, the exhibition resurfaces archives, art works, photographs and many never-before-seen objects that bear witness to history on a human scale. It also relates stories of resilience and hope in the long journey toward exile, reconstruction, reparations, and the restitution of stolen heritage.
Seventy-five years after the liberation of Auschwitz, it aims to keep this history alive and celebrate the courage of the victims, witnesses and survivors of the Shoah so that we never forget.
Sylvain Amic, Director of the Réunion des Musées Métropolitains Rouen Normandie and Head Heritage Conservation Officer; Nathalie Bondil, former Director General and Chief Curator of the MMFA; and Fabrice Denise, Director of the Musée d'Histoire de Marseille.
With contributions from Marie Sanchez, Director of La Fabrique des Savoirs in Elbeuf, Head Heritage Conservation Officer; Laurence Garson, Head of the Mémorial des Déportations, and Ann Blanchet, Curator, Musée d'Histoire de Marseille; Iris Amizlev, Curator of Intercultural Arts, MMFA; as well as Marie-Blanche Fourcade, Head of Collections and Exhibitions, and Andréa Shaulis, Curator, Montreal Holocaust Museum.
This exhibition was made possible thanks to support from FRAME
During the museums’ lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, FRAME (FRench American Museum Exchange) established an Emergency Grant Initiative on April 13. Funds were promptly distributed to six institutions to develop a series of new cultural projects online to help them continue to engage the public and strengthen their accessibility remotely to their local audiences as well as to a global audience. Through these projects, 17 museums, which are more than half of the members of FRAME, benefit from transatlantic partnerships. The online exhibition Ports of Exile, Home Harbours is one of the six exemplar projects which were implemented in less than an month within the FRAME Emergency Initiative.