Displaced Person traces the journey of Oswald “Valdik” Holzer, a Czech Jewish doctor. After graduating from medical school, Dr. Holzer briefly served in the Czechoslovak army before making a harrowing escape from the Nazis to a port of last resort, Shanghai, in 1939. A determined man, Dr. Holzer kept in touch with friends and family in various places via letters. These letters, a collection of more than 400 from 78 correspondents, serve as first-person testimony, providing insight into how the war and persecution affected people in the Czech lands, China, France, Great Britain and beyond. Through these letters, the exhibition highlights the impressions and reflections of forcibly displaced people.
Dr. Holzer’s story is an uncommon reminder that even amidst the most destructive moments in human history, during assimilation into unfamiliar territory, inspiring decisions can be made to devote one’s heart, hand, and mind to protect and enhance the common good of humanity.
This project was funded in part by a grant from the Frances and Joseph Victor Fund at the Central Florida Foundation, one of more than 400 charitable funds established since 1994.