Krakow Photo Exhibit Shines Light on Holocaust Memory and Contemporary Poland

Holocaust survivor Richard Ores in Kraków, Poland. Photo: The Ores Family.

October 14, 2021


A new exhibit, “Sweet Home Sweet: A Story of Survival, Memory, and Returns,” at the renowned Galicia Jewish Museum in Kraków, Poland, delivers a stark reminder of the light and beauty which survived the darkness and destruction of the Holocaust.

Richard Ores was born to a Jewish family in 1923. He lived in the heart of Kraków and was a teenager when World War II engulfed Europe. He survived the ghetto and Nazi concentration camps only to learn almost everyone else in his family had been killed.

Ores kept a camera with him during his time in the ghetto, and took many photos of his friends before they perished. These photos, coupled with his shots from pre-war Poland, were hidden in a buried pickle jar in the Plaszów concentration camp until the war was over. Ores knew how important these images were, and he never gave up hope that they would be developed. 

Thanks to the Galicia Jewish Museum, for the first time ever, this collection of photographs is now available to the public.

The Galicia Jewish Museum, in Kraków, Poland.

The exhibit is centered on Ores, his family, and their relationship to Poland. The riveting exhibition contains 99 original photographs, interviews with Ores, family and archival footage taken by Ores, and wartime historical documents.

Ores moved to the United States after the war, but he maintained a deep connection to his birth country. His memories of the war and Poland never escaped him. He raised funds for hospital equipment for a clinic in Kraków, served as a consultant for the film Schindler’s List, and continued to document his life in America through the medium of photography.

Ores passed away in New York City in 2011.

It is fitting that a story as poignant as Richard Ores’ would be highlighted at the Galicia Jewish Museum. On a daily basis, the museum educates Poles and guests from across the globe, both Jewish and non-Jewish, about Jewish culture, the Holocaust, and present-day Jewish life.

The reaction to the exhibit has been overwhelmingly positive, with thousands of in-person and online visitors. 

The exhibit’s story of how one family maintained vibrant connections to the country of its roots, while living with the trauma of the Holocaust, provides an important perspective on the relationship between Poland and the Jewish people.

To learn more about the Galicia Jewish Museum, visit: galiciajewishmuseum.org/en

Watch a video on the “Sweet Home Sweet” exhibit below: