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Oct. 25 2015 - 18:10

Last Folio of a Vanished Life

Dojc’s enormous photographs turn books into objects of beauty and loss.

Dojc’s enormous photographs turn books into objects of beauty and loss.

How can a museum tell a story in a new way, without resorting to hackneyed cliches? The Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center has succeeded with its new exhibition, "Last Folio." On display are still lives by Yuri Dojc, a photographer who emigrated from Czechoslovakia after the Soviet invasion in 1968. A meeting in 1997 with a woman who had lived through the Holocaust led Dojc to seek out people who could bear witness to events and to find and photograph what he could of prewar Jewish life.

He eventually found the ruins of a Jewish elementary school that had been closed and untouched for half a century. Inside were dust-covered and burnt books, including one that had belonged to Dojc's grandfather before he was sent to Auschwitz. These books became the subject of Dojc's portraits — living witnesses to tragedy. "Books for me are symbolic, because they share with us the lives of people who are no longer alive," Dojc said at the opening of the exhibition.

This small but thoughtfully curated exhibition silently and eloquently tells the story of a vanished time and people.

Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center. 11 Ulitsa Obraztsova, Bldg. 1A. Metro Savyolovskaya. 495-645-0550. Open Sun. to Thurs. noon to 10 p.m. and Fri. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free, and the exhibition runs until Jan. 16.

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