Judy Glickman Lauder’s first journey to Auschwitz and Birkenau in 1988 reordered her place in the world, as a human being and as a photographer. “Walking into the camps turned me around,” she said. “I felt at one with all the souls who had departed, and I felt at one with my heritage.”

Her family is from Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine, where most of the Jewish people died during the Holocaust.

The experience overwhelmed her, and Glickman Lauder felt drawn to explore it further and deeply. That first trip, with her son David, lasted just two days, but she returned many times – to Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Hungary, France, Germany and the Netherlands – to photograph the camps, ghettos, train depots and forests where many died and where many more are memorialized.

Book cover

Thirty years after she began her journey, Glickman Lauder has published a photography book about her 30-year Holocaust experience, “Beyond the Shadows: The Holocaust and the Danish Exception.” It includes original text by Elie Wiesel, an Auschwitz survivor, Nobel Laureate and longtime friend of Glickman Lauder. Before he died in 2016, he wrote a small response to Glickman Lauder’s photographs after seeing a proof of an early version of the book.

These black-and-white photographs represent a personal and artistic response to the horrors Glickman Lauder has seen and also tell the story of the heroic non-Jewish Danes who rescued most of the country’s Jewish population through an underground network to hide them from the Nazis. Glickman Lauder traveled widely in Denmark in the early 1990s to meet, interview and photograph leaders of the Danish Resistance, as well as rescuers and Jewish survivors.

The Danish Rescue is an under-told part of the Holocaust story, and Glickman Lauder believes it offers a message of hope in what is otherwise the darkest of stories.

Judy Glickman Lauder, Harbor, Gilleleje, Denmark; from Beyond the Shadows (Aperture, 2018)

“It’s a small story, but it’s huge in scope,” she said from her home in Cape Elizabeth. “It’s people helping people and not looking at someone from a different religion as ‘the other.’ It was Christians helping their fellow man, beholden unto God and not beholden unto man. For me, it was a breath of fresh air. The Danes were so humble. They wondered why I wanted to photograph them.”

Glickman Lauder wears many titles. She is a philanthropist and humanitarian, and serves as a trustee at the Portland Museum of Art. As an artist, her photographs are in major museum collections across the country, including the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Judy Glickman Lauder

She was raised in California, the daughter of a doctor, Irving Bennett Ellis, who also was an award-winning photographer. He introduced her to the art form, and one of her earlier books recognized his influence and accomplishments, “For the Love of It: The Photography of Irving Bennett Ellis.” Her association with Maine came through her late husband, Albert Glickman. A Portland native, Glickman made his fortune in real estate became one of Maine’s major philanthropists, directing much of his philanthropy to the art world.

They fell in love in California, and he introduced her to Maine as a summer retreat in the 1960s. They moved to Cape Elizabeth in 1984. Glickman died in 2013, and two years later Judy Glickman married Leonard A. Lauder, emeritus chair of the Estee Lauder Companies and one of her late-husband’s best friends – and an avid art collector himself.

They spend most of their time in New York, though Glickman Lauder was in Maine recently to talk about her book.

While the publication of the book by the Aperture Foundation represents a culmination of sorts for Glickman Lauder, it’s also just a milepost along the way. Over the years, there have been more than 200 exhibitions of her work from this project, and she has spoken to hundreds of groups – and has dozens of speaking engagements and slideshows lined up in the year ahead. “Who had time to really do a book?” she asked.

But with the world tilting toward authoritarianism and the apparent embrace of oppression as a means toward political ends, Glickman Lauder decided to make the time for the book now. “This has been a long time in coming. I am thrilled that it finally came together and at a time, sadly, when it is applicable and terribly timely,” she said. “Human beings are capable of evil, evil things – death and power and violence and everything that comes with it. But we’re also capable of standing up and making a difference and not being a bystander. That’s an important message for our times.”

The book’s release last month was timed to the 75th anniversary of the Nazi occupation of Denmark. On Oct. 1, 1943, Hitler ordered the deportation of Jews from the country. Instead, over the course of the next few weeks, an underground network safely removed about 8,000 Jews via small boats to Sweden.

Glickman Lauder learned of the story 25 years ago through Judith Goldstein, founder of Humanity in Action, an international human rights organization. Goldstein saw an exhibition of Glickman’s Holocaust photographs at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and was impressed with her “very strong commitment to conveying the horror and, essentially, the catastrophe of the Jews of Europe but also Europe itself.”

For the 50th anniversary, Goldstein asked Glickman Lauder to document the story by traveling across Denmark to meet people involved in the rescue. “It couldn’t be done with historical imagery, because there was not much available. But the idea was essentially looking for those who were rescued and those who rescued Jews, finding them and photographing them and photographing the sites of the rescue to illustrate the narrative of their journey and the places where Jews were hidden and protected and one instance where they were hidden and betrayed.”

Judy Glickman Lauder’s photograph of “gas valves, crematoria, Theresienstadt concentration camp, Czechoslovakia.”

Her photos from Denmark are dignified and reserved, suggesting a quiet humility among the people who made the Jewish rescue possible. In addition to the people, she photographed a crypt in the basement of a Copenhagen church, where Torah scrolls were hidden from 1943 to 1945. She shows us the attics where Jews hid from their captors, the forests of fear and refuge on their escape route north, and the darkened nighttime piers where they made their way into the water and a future unknown.

She needed these stories of heroism and hope to balance the despair she encountered in the concentration camps. The photos from Auschwitz, Birkenau and Dachau are naturally stark, dark and desperate, and are made to feel more so by Glickman Lauder’s ability to find the darkest corner. An image of the gas valves at the crematorium at Theresienstadt demonstrates the degree of engineering and premeditation the Nazis put into their extermination plans. To leave any doubt, she also includes a photograph of the large meeting table at the Wannsee Conference site near Berlin, where in January 1942 Nazi leaders settled on their Final Solution of Jewish genocide.

In addition to her traditional black-and-white photographs, Glickman Lauder includes a series of images she made with infrared film, which records light we cannot see with our naked eye. Taking pictures with infrared film also meant she was never sure what she would get when she developed the film. Many of those images suggest a presence, mythical and ghostly.

Now in her 80s, Glickman Lauder is feeling reflective about her work and her life. On both accounts, “Beyond the Shadows” has given her hope.

“It’s been my life’s work, and it’s caused me to go back over everything, not only photography but spiritually and inwardly.”

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes

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