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Stitching History from the Holocaust

From October 16-December 2018, the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh is proud to host the exhibit Stitching History for the Holocaust, on loan from the Jewish Museum Milwaukee.

Please note that admission to the exhibit is $5; this is waived for students (with valid ID), student groups, and Holocaust survivors.

The opening event on October 16 featuring visiting writer Helen Epstein will cost $10. Learn more and register here.

Stitching History will feature extended gallery hours beyond our regular hours on Monday/Wednesday 10am-4:30pm and Friday 10am-2pm. These are:

Sunday, Oct. 21 – 1:00-4:00

Thursday, Oct. 25 – 4:00-7:00

Thursday, Nov. 1 – 4:00-7:00

Thursday, Nov. 15 – 4:00-7:00

Thursday, Nov. 29 – 4:00-7:00

Thursday, Dec. 6 – 4:00-7:00

Sunday, Dec. 9 – 1:00-4:00

Extended hours are all listed on our calendar.


About the Exhibit (From JMM):
In the winter of 1939, Paul Strnad wrote his cousin Alvin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Desperate to obtain an affidavit to escape the onslaught of Nazi Germany, Paul sent Alvin sketches of his wife Hedwig’s designs. Paul and Hedy hoped that these examples of her work would provide evidence of their financial independence. Despite Alvin’s best efforts, both Hedwig and her husband Paul were murdered in the Holocaust. All that remains of their story are this letter and Hedwig’s sketches.

In 1997, the Strnad family in Milwaukee discovered this letter and drawings in their mother’s basement. They donated them to the Milwaukee Jewish Historical Society, which became the Jewish Museum Milwaukee. Once the Museum opened, these pieces became central to the permanent exhibition. A visitor commented that JMM should create these dresses and this is the origin of “Stitching History from the Holocaust.”

JMM worked with the Costume Shop of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater to create the dresses while the Museum researched the Strnad family. Six humanities scholars explained the primary resources from the diverse perspectives including fashion history, immigration history, and Holocaust history.

Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s exhibit Stitching History from the Holocaust explores the life and work of Hedy Strnad before her murder. The main feature of this exhibit is the recreation of Hedy’s dresses from her sketches. It serves as an example of what happens when human suffering is ignored and is a testament to the incalculable loss of the Holocaust.

Pictures of Stitching History in our space coming soon!

To learn more about the exhibit, visit the official website:


This exhibit was generously supported by the Jewish Women’s Foundation and a grant from the Mendel And Sylvia Solomon Charitable Trust through PNC Charitable Trusts.