Moving exhibition comes to GCU for official launch

12 August 2014

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) has partnered the Gathering the Voices Association (GtVA) to host the official opening of its new mobile exhibition on Tuesday, August 19.

GtVA has been gathering the oral testimonies of men and women who sought refuge in Scotland to escape the racism of Nazi-dominated Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. Most, but not all, were Jewish.

Saskia Tepe, an alumna of GCU, will illustrate this when she shares her mother’s story at the official opening, introducing her new book, Brigitte’s Secret.

The exhibition will be available for use in Scottish schools, libraries, and museums and consists of brief extracts from interviews recorded by GtVA, as well as photographs and other historical information.

Supported by GCU, the Heritage Lottery Fund and many local donors, GtVA has created a website (www.gatheringthevoices.com) where these testimonies can be freely accessed in audio and written form. At present there are 21 voices on the site, with more to be added.

To date, 37 people from a number of different European countries, and many walks of life, have been interviewed.

Front row, left to right:- Claire and Howard Singerman (GVA - Gathering the Voices Association), Vice Chancellor & Principal, Professor Pamela Gillies CBE (Glasgow Caledonian University), Angela Shapiro, Hilary and Steven Anson (GVA). Back row, left to right:- Stewart Maxwell (MSP), Duncan Cameron (Riverside Music Complex), David Shapiro (GVA), Heinrich Schnettger (German Consul, Edinburgh).

The interviewees discussed their lives, including their earliest memories of life in Europe, the horrors of Nazism, their experiences of migration and their gradual integration into Scottish society.

The day-to-day lives of these ‘new Scots’ are described, detailing how they learned about their new home, gained an education, found jobs, married, had children and put down roots in Scotland. 

GtVA will be adding further resources suitable for primary and secondary school pupils.

As part of the opening of the exhibition, GtVA will introduce four recent GCU graduates from the School of Engineering and Built Environment, who are building an educational digital game based on an interview with Marion Camrass. As a child, Marion spent part of the war as a political prisoner in Siberia and later as a refugee in Bukhara in Uzbekistan before coming to Scotland.

Professor Pamela Gillies CBE, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, said: “The University continues to be proud of its association with this extraordinary project. This new mobile exhibition will showcase the inspirational stories of friendship and survival to new generations across Scotland. I am also delighted that our students are using their skills in gaming design to educate users about Marion Camrass’ story in an innovative way.”

Claire Singerman, GtVA Secretary, said: “GtVA is grateful for the support it has received from GCU and many other individuals and groups, to help turn this project from an idea into a reality. This support has made it possible to ensure that these unique testimonies are able to reach a Scottish, and even a worldwide audience. The mobile exhibition will now be an essential part of this.”