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Israeli Artist Gil Yefman and Remember the Women Institute

On May 14, 2014, Remember the Women Institute held a special benefit event in connection with Israeli artist Gil Yefman's exhibit, Bay Mir Bistu Sheyn ("To me you are beautiful"), at the Ronald Feldman Gallery in SoHo, New York City. This event evolved from a relationship with the artist and his work on sexual violence that began in March 2013.

Gil Yefman Meets Key Members of Remember the Women Institute

Gil Yefman

Photo, left: Artist Gil Yefman (center) is shown at the opening of Traces V: Beyond Paper in Jerusalem with Rochelle G. Saidel, artist Gil Yefman, and Guilherme Ary Plonski Yefman's artwork is in the background (Photo: Arik Kilemnik). Photo, right: The artist at work.

In March 2013 Remember the Women Institute was a co-sponsor for a conference in Israel on Women and the Holocaust, held at Beit Berl College, Beit Terezin, and Beit Lohamei HaGhetaot. We also organized a panel on sexual violence during the Holocaust for the conference. Our Institute provided a scholarship for Angieszka Weseli, an independent Polish scholar, to come to the conference and be on our panel for her presentation on forced prostitution at Auschwitz. Weseli and artist Gil Yefman had a mutual friend in Israel who connected them, and she invited Yefman to come to the conference and hear her presentation during our panel on sexual violence.

During Remember the Women Institute's panel, there was a young man in the front row who was crocheting as he sat and listened. Afterward, Angieszka Weseli introduced this young man, Gil Yefman, to panelists Rochelle Saidel and Sonja Hedgepeth, co-editors of Sexual Violence against Jewish Women during the Holocaust. During the next four months of the year that Rochelle Saidel was living in Jerusalem, she met with Gil Yefman almost weekly. They talked about his unique and innovative work on sexual violence during the Holocaust, about our Institute's own related work, and learned a lot from each other as a strong friendship developed. Sonja Hedgepeth joined the conversations when she was in Israel.

We Are Published in Japanese for Gil Yefman's Tokyo Exhibition

From August 19 to October 28, 2013, Gil Yefman had a solo exhibition at The Container in Tokyo, Japan. The exhibition, titled H, marked Yefman's debut in Japan and was been developed specifically for Japanese viewers and local context. The exhibition dealt with sexual violence during the Holocaust, and was the result of the artist's unique artistic creativity, as well as research he has conducted for the last several years. "H" is a symbol in Japan (pronounce "echi") that represents a condition of a sexual nature, associated with notions of the explicit and the perverse.

As part of his effort to understand the details of the Nazis' system of brothels, the artist met with Dr. Sonja Hedgepeth and Dr. Rochelle Saidel of Remember the Women Institute. They contributed an essay (PDF 93K) to the bilingual Japanese-English exhibition catalogue. This show, which included Yefman's magnificently crocheted sculpture and performance art by the artist, as well as his other innovative and evocative creations, was the first in a series of exhibitions to be shown internationally.

For an interview with artist Gil Yefman, please see Elephant Magazine.

Gil Yefman's Exhibition in Jerusalem

In winter 2014 Gil was one of the artists participating in a group show entitled Traces V: Beyond Paper, the Fifth Biennale for Drawing in Israel at the Jerusalem Print Workshop and other venues around Jerusalem, including the Jerusalem Artistsí House. An online catalogue is available.

Additional Press Coverage of Gil Yefman

"Teaching Horror of Shoah Rape With Crochet" (The Jewish Daily Forward, 6/3/14)

"Sexual Violence, Art and the Shoah" (The New York Jewish Week, 5/30/14)

"Gender Identify and the Holocaust" (Haartez, 5/23/14, PDF 728K)

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