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Seton Hill University’s National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education (NCCHE) will host an exhibit featuring the work of Samuel Bak, “Illuminations: The Art of Samuel Bak,” from October 11-November 15. A reception will be held Thursday, October 11, from 4-7 p.m. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. Harlan Gallery is a professional exhibition space located in Reeves Hall on Seton Hill University’s Greensburg, Pa., campus. Harlan Gallery is open Monday—Thursday from 5 – 8 p.m., Friday 1 – 3 p.m., and Sunday 1 – 4 p.m. For more information on Harlan Gallery, please contact Harlan Gallery Director Carol Brode at 724-830-1071 or The event is sponsored as part of the Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference.

“Illuminations: The Art of Samuel Bak” features 20 original works by renowned artist and Holocaust survivor Samuel Bak. The themes of Bak’s work include questions of identity, responsibility, the challenges of justice and the difficulties of rebuilding what was destroyed.

The artist and his wife, Josée, together with Sue and Bernie Pucker, donated the paintings for exhibition at the Brookline, Mass. Headquarters of Facing History and Ourselves.

Much of Bak’s art is influenced by his experiences of surviving the Holocaust as a child in Vilna, Poland.” Bak said, “I certainly do not make illustrations of things that happened. I do it in a symbolic way, in a way which only gives a sense of a world that was shattered…”

The collection, which is intended to be shared across North America as part of an important educational resource for work with educators and students, is on loan to Seton Hill University.

Born in Vilna in 1933, Bak had the first exhibition of his drawings at the age of nine in the Vilna ghetto. Having survived its destruction, he emigrated in 1948 to Israel. He studied at the Bezalel Art School in Jerusalem and at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Subsequently he lived and worked in Rome, Tel Aviv, New York and Lausanne. In an artistic career spanning more than 50 years, Bak has had numerous exhibitions in major museums, galleries, and universities throughout Europe, Israel and the United States. Since 1993 he has resided with his wife, Josée, in the Boston area. Bak has been the subject of numerous articles, scholarly works and 15 books, most notable a monograph entitled “Between Worlds.” In 2001 he published his touching memoir, “Painted in Words,” which has been translated into several languages. He has also been the subject of two documentary films and was the recipient of the 2002 German Herkomer Cultural Prize.

Seton Hill University’s National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education (NCCHE) was established on the campus of Seton Hill University in 1987. Seton Hill initiated this national Catholic movement toward Holocaust studies in response to the urging of Pope John Paul II to recognize the significance of the Shoah, the Holocaust, and to “promote the necessary historical and religious studies on this event which concerns the whole of humanity today” (Letter to Archbishop John L. May, 1987). The NCCHE has as its primary purpose the broad dissemination of scholarship on the root causes of anti-Semitism, its relation to the Holocaust and the implications from the Catholic perspective of both for today's world. Toward this end the Center is committed to equipping scholars, especially those at Catholic institutions, to enter into serious discussion on the causes of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust; shaping appropriate curricular responses at Catholic institutions and other educational sites; sustaining Seton Hill's Catholic Institute for Holocaust Studies in Israel through a cooperative program with Yad Vashem, the Isaac Jacob Institute for Religious Law and Hebrew University; encouraging scholarship and research through conferences, publications, workshops for educators, and similar activities; sponsoring local events on the Holocaust and related topics in the University and the community and enhancing Catholic-Jewish relations.