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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

August 24, 2018  RSS feed
Culture

Text: T T T

USF student’s photo exhibit evokes Holocaust horrors

By BOB FRYER Jewish Press


Guards at Auschwitz were ordered to shoot on sight any prisoners who crossed past this sign to halt. This is one of Avi Davidson’s photos that will be on display at USF. 
Photo by Avi Davisdon Guards at Auschwitz were ordered to shoot on sight any prisoners who crossed past this sign to halt. This is one of Avi Davidson’s photos that will be on display at USF. Photo by Avi Davisdon When University of South Florida student Avi Davidson travelled with other college students on spring break this year to Poland, the group toured a number of sites connected to the atrocities of the Holocaust, and one was, he said, “haunting beyond doubt.”

It was a room in a barracks for Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz. “As you walk in you are face to face with hundreds and hundreds of prosthetics ranging from braces, artificial legs and crutches,” Davidson wrote in describing his trip. “This room was particularly meaningful due to my circumstances of needing both a prosthetic limb as well as a wheelchair in order to maneuver through life. Since I live with multiple handicaps, knowing I would have been led straight away to be killed due to either one of these conditions alone was horrifying and disturbing.”


USF student Avi Davidson, a paraplegic, shoots a photo at the Auschwitz death camp of a room filled with 470 prosthetics, braces and crutches, taken from prisoners upon their arrival. 
Photo by Chabad on Campus USF student Avi Davidson, a paraplegic, shoots a photo at the Auschwitz death camp of a room filled with 470 prosthetics, braces and crutches, taken from prisoners upon their arrival. Photo by Chabad on Campus Davidson, who has been an avid photographer for years, was age 16 in 2009 when he came in contact with a high voltage line atop a utility pole while trying to photograph the sunset. He fell from the pole and suffered multiple burns, was paralyzed from the waist down and had to have his left arm amputated.

Now a senior at USF majoring in behavioral sciences, Davidson’s spirit remains undaunted, along with his interest in photography.

To document his experience in Poland and share it with those who want to learn more about the Holocaust, he will host an exhibit titled, To Bear Witness at the Centra Gallery on the second floor of the University of South Florida Marshall Student Center. The exhibit will contain 13 images from Davidson. It will be open to the public from Sept. 4-14 at no charge. There will be an opening reception on Sept. 4 from noon to 1 p.m. and a closing reception on Sept. 14 from 7-9 p.m. The gallery is open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Davidson, of Tampa, was among a group of 54 students from a variety of universities on the spring break trip set up through the Chabad on Campus affiliated program called Living Links.

He hopes his exhibit will help combat anti-Semitism and counter those who deny the Holocaust.

The group travelled from Frankfurt to Kraków with stops in Warsaw, Lublin, Majdanek, Markowa, and Auschwitz.

In addition to the storage room of prosthetics that belonged to prisoners sent to their deaths during the Holocaust, he was touched by a visit to the Warsaw Jewish cemetery, a Warsaw Ghetto Heroes monument and a visit to the Radegast train station where many Jews were transported to death camps. Another memorable experience occurred in the Zbilatowska Gora forest, the site of a children’s mass extermination grave with more than 850 lives lost as they were lined up in a row and gunned down.

“This trip was an instrumental part in furthering the education of the students who wish to remember the past as well as to fight future atrocities,” Davidson wrote of his experience.


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