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It is with great sadness that the Center for Holocaust and Genocide announces the passing of Gus Gutman. We recently had the pleasure of working with Gus on the "Portraying Memories" project with artist Felix de la Concha. Gus was an enthusiastic participant, turning what is typically a 2-4 hour session into a daylong adventure involving a trip to the Shalom Home, where he introduced Felix to his good friend Walter Schwartz, so he could participate as well.
Gus was always full of energy, a wonderful storyteller and great to be around. We were very surprised to hear he was ill and extremely saddened to hear of his passing on January 11.
Although Gus was a child during the Holocaust, he spoke often about remembering the events of Kristallnacht (the Nazi pogrom) that took place throughout Germany and Austria on November 9,10, 1938. "I was just a small child in Hildesheim when my father held me up to see the smoke coming from our beloved synagogue. The experience was so embedded in my memory I even wrote a play, "Guests of the City," about my return to Germany with flashbacks to that time which was produced and performed in my home town Hildesheim in 2005 (I played my father)."
We are very fortunate that Gus's story will live on the CHGS website and that others will be able to view his painting session with Felix de la Concha. The portrait will also be on display in an exhibition planned for Spring of 2015, and website dedicated to all of Felix de la Concha's Holocaust portraits.