United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Chief Acquisitions Curator Alexandra Drakakis will deliver the 28th Annual Raoul Wallenberg Lecture at the National Nordic Museum, honoring the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Jews in German-occupied Hungary during the Holocaust. Drawing examples of artifacts and stories from the Holocaust Museum's Collection of Record, Alexandra's talk will focus on the material culture of trauma and what it can teach us about survival, activism, grief, and memory - especially as we move further away from the events of World War II. She will speak to the ongoing collecting efforts at the Holocaust Museum against a backdrop of increased Holocaust denial and distortion, and how artifacts across all media are activated throughout the institution in service to memorialization and education, and toward the prevention of future genocides.
About the Speaker:
Alexandra Drakakis is Chief Acquisitions Curator in the David M. Rubenstein National Institute for Holocaust Documentation at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum where she oversees a large team of curators who specialize in the acquisition of artifacts across all-media, and the production of oral testimonies that constitute the Museum's Collection of Record. She came to the USHMM from Madison Square Garden Entertainment in New York City, where as Director of Collections and Archives, she spearheaded a collecting initiative for the historic arena and other performance venues, including the Beacon Theater, Radio City, and Chicago Theater. In her previous role as curator at the National September 11 Memorial Museum from 2007-2020, Alexandra helped build the institution’s foundational collection of artifacts and stories, and shape its inaugural historical and memorial exhibitions. She has written “Michele Martocci’s Shoes: Escape from the Towers,” an article in The Stories They Tell: Artifacts from the National September 11 Memorial Museum (Skira Rizzoli, 2013) and From the Material to the Digital: Reflections on Collecting and Exhibiting Grief at the 9/11 Memorial Museum, a chapter in Mass Violence and Memory in the Digital Age: Memorialization Unmoored (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020).
About Raoul Wallenberg:
Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish architect and businessman, who served as Sweden's special envoy in Nazi-occupied Budapest from July to December, 1944. During that time, Wallenberg issued protective passports to Jewish persons and sheltered Jews in Swedish-territory buildings, saving tens of thousands of people from deportation to concentration camps. Wallenberg was detained by the Soviet Army in 1944, and reportedly died in a communist prison in 1947. Today, he is celebrated by countries worldwide for his courageous humanitarian efforts.
The Museum would like to thank its partner organizations for this event: the Washington State Jewish Historical Society and the Holocaust Center for Humanity.