Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Margaret Lindauer

Second Advisor

Margaret Lindauer


Holocaust survivor Dr. Yaffa Eliach collected over 6,000 photographs depicting residents of Eishyshok, a small Jewish settlement in Eastern Europe, taken between 1890 and 1941. Eliach survived the Nazi-led massacre in 1941 that killed nearly the entire Jewish population of Eishyshok. As a way to commemorate the destroyed town of her youth she began to collect photographs from other survivors and residents who fled Europe prior to the Holocaust. She subsequently selected 1,032 photographs from the Yaffa Eliach Shtetl Collection for display in The Tower of Faces, a permanent exhibition in The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, located in Washington, DC. The Tower of Faces is a multivalent exhibition. What the photographs represent has changed as time has passed and the collection has served multiple purposes. For Eliach, who has a personal connection to the collection and to events the images have come to represent, the exhibition is a monument within a memorial museum that specifically visually depicts and commemorates Eishyshok and its residents. Once the photographs were accessioned into the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s permanent collection exhibition designers and curators used the photographs to facilitate a connection between visitors who may not have a direct association to the Holocaust. For visitors, the familial photographs do not represent direct memories or evidence of atrocity, as they do for Eliach. Rather, the Tower of Faces is a site of postmemory and the photographs is what connects the Holocaust to Eliach’s memory of the Holocaust to visitors’ understanding of the Holocaust.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

January 2014