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Exhibition Displays JEM Professor's Auschwitz Photos

A photograph from Auschwitz taken by JEM Professor Rob Heller

Photographs of the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp taken by Rob Heller, a UT CCI photojournalism professor, are on display at UT’s Ewing Gallery until Dec. 13.

Heller presented a lecture on the photo exhibition Nov. 15, to kick off its month-long stay in the gallery.

The photos were taken by Heller during the 2007 European tour of “Living On,” his exhibition of photographs and interviews of Tennessee Holocaust survivors and liberators.

Rob HellerU.S. Ambassador to Poland and former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe helped to arrange Heller’s travel to Warsaw, and it was during that visit that he spent time photographing at Auschwitz.

With only six hours at the camp, Heller said he tried to make the most of it.

“It was difficult to take in the enormity of the place,” Heller said. “I focused on details — the construction of the wooden barracks, barbed wire and concrete, birch trees, memorial stones placed by visitors from around the world. I found a rusted knife among the ruins and tried to imagine the story behind the utensil.”

Heller said this was perhaps his most difficult assignment as a photographer.

“I feel as if I’ve come full circle, starting with Tennesseans who were affected by the Holocaust and ending in the spot where so many victims died,” he said.

For more information on the exhibition, contact Robert Heller (rheller@utk.edu) or the Ewing Gallery.