Holocaust survivor to speak at Waynesboro Public Library

Mark Strauss is not only a Holocaust survivor. He is also an artist and author. His presentation at Waynesboro Public Library on Thursday, October 11 will connect these two avocations to his poignant story of survival and hope as a child in Nazi-occupied Poland. The evening’s presentation, in cooperation with the Foundation for Holocaust Education Projects, starts at 6 p.m. with a segment for children and will be followed by one for adults at 7:30 p.m.

A connection to literature is made in the children’s portion of the program. It begins with a reading of Dr. Seuss’ The Sneetches. The storyline exemplifies the themes of discrimination and bullying as Sneetches with and without green stars on their bellies get caught up in a scheme that make them question and then reconcile their differences.

Following Mr. Strauss’ inspirational and uplifting program about bullying, compassion, and understanding, children will have an opportunity to explore those themes though an art activity (several choices will be offered). “The artistic part of the program will appeal to a wide age range of children,” said Bethany Rose, Youth Services Librarian.

“This program is unique in that it is age appropriate, and the message is so important,” said Katharine Gorsuch, the Foundation for Holocaust Education Projects’ creative director. “One point of the opportunity is for children to meet a survivor. They might not have the chance later. We also recognized the opportunity for Mr. Strauss to share his story more fully with adults.”

A world-renowned artist, Mr. Strauss’ oil painting and prints are the basis for the adult portion of the program. The subjects of his paintings range from the Holocaust to landscapes to the Washington Mall. His artwork is currently on display at the library through the end of the month. Mr. Strauss’ work is also on display at the Edinburgh Gallery, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, the Virginia Holocaust Museum, and other galleries throughout the world.

According to his profile, Mr. Strauss’ art exaggerates and dramatizes reality or creates utter fantasy. His paintings are intellectually and emotionally fascinating, sometimes threatening, sometimes playful – always in motion. Deviating from main artistic streams, both long-past and recent, Strauss’ work is unique. His paintings have become known as Dynamic Interpretations.

The Foundation for Holocaust Education Projects, together with its local affiliate, the Shenandoah Valley Holocaust Education Project, contacted WPL about hosting Mr. Strauss. “The library teaches these great values,” said Gorsuch, “and we wanted to partner with WPL to celebrate the recent renovations.” Look for more in the future because the big goal of the Foundation is to provide more opportunities for learning at the library, around the country, and throughout the world.