The Anne Frank Center USA Announces Opening of Romani Exhibit: The Pre-War Photographs of Jan Yoors

The Anne Frank Center USA provides visitors with a visual representation of the life experiences of Jan Yoors and his documentation of Roma (Gypsy) history, customs and culture during the pre-war years. This exhibit celebrates his visual legacy of a vanished world through 34 black and white historic photographs.

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"According to estimates by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, about 23,000 Roma, Sinti and Lalleri were deported to Auschwitz," explains Yvonne Simons, Executive Director, The Anne Frank Center USA.

New York, NY (PRWEB) September 11, 2013

The Anne Frank Center USA proudly announces a new exhibit, Life among the Gypsies: The Pre-War Photographs of Jan Yoors through January 3, 2014. There will be an opening reception on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. located at 44 Park Place, New York, NY 10007.

This exhibit provides visitors with a visual representation of the life experiences of Jan Yoors and his documentation of Roma (Gypsy) history, customs and culture during the pre-war years. The photographs he took of his adoptive family provide a rare and unfiltered glimpse in the life of the Romani. This exhibition celebrates his visual legacy of a vanished world through 34 black and white historic photographs.

Who was Jan Yoors?
Jan Yoors (1922–77), born in Belgium, left his comfortable middle class family at the age of 12 to join a band of Romanies he encountered near the outskirts of Antwerp. The group took him in and shared their customs with him for the better parts of 6 years, spending most winters with his supportive family, only to return to travel with his Romani family in the spring.

When WWII broke out, Yoors headed for England to join the British army. Awaiting passage in a convent in occupied Paris, he was approached by a British intelligence officer who asked him to recruit the Romanies to help Allied intelligence units. He agreed, and he and the Romanies worked together smuggling arms to the resistance. In 1943 the Gestapo arrested them. Yoors was thrown into solitary confinement in Paris's La Santé Prison, where he was sentenced to death and tortured intermittently for 6 months, turning into a year long imprisonment.

After he was accidentally released, the Allies helped Yoors to impersonate an SS officer that had permission to transport allied prisoners by train. After a few trips escorting downed pilots, intelligence officers, and others from behind enemy lines, the 20 year old was caught again. He was finally released in 1945 from Franco's notorious Miranda concentration camp, to find, sadly, that nearly every member of his Romani family had died in Auschwitz. After the war, Yoors continued to photograph the Romanies he met during his travel around the world.

In November 1977, Jan Yoors died of a heart attack at the age of 55, leaving behind a body of diverse art work. He had created a literary and visual record of the Gypsies during a pivotal period in their history large number of Eastern European. This exhibit is made possible by The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, official airline of The Anne Frank Center.

About The Anne Frank Center USA
Otto Frank, Anne's father, founded the Center in 1977. The Anne Frank Center honors the life of Anne Frank and her diary by making it a living history lesson of the consequences of anti-Antisemitism and other forms of hatred and intolerance. The Center reaches out to young people throughout New York City and to museums and libraries across the US and Canada with her powerful story in order to educate people about current issues of religious, ethnic, and racial hatred around the world. Additionally, the Center distributes traveling exhibits throughout North America, offers permanent and current exhibits in its New York City Gallery, as well as programs, lectures, and films to students and the community.

The Anne Frank Center USA is a non-sectarian, non-profit educational organization created under IRS Code 501(c) (3).


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