Exhibition Honoring Helen Suzman

Tadias Events News
Published: Thursday, March 26, 2009

New York, NY: One of the most extraordinary women of our century, Helen Suzman devoted her career to the fight against apartheid in South Africa. As a tribute to her exceptional efforts, the Isaac and Jessie Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research at the University of Cape Town, under the direction of Dr. Milton Shain, organized a graphic panel exhibition that captures her life work. This moving and inspiring exhibition – which was conceptualized, researched, and written by Millie Pimstone and designed by Linda Bester – will be on view at the Rotunda, Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC, from April 27 – May 1, 2009. The exhibition is sponsored through the Office of Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY).

On April 27, an opening reception will feature Ann Lewis, Margaret Marshall, the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, and other noted speakers (Program in progress). The viewing of the exhibition and reception begin at 5:30pm in the Russell Caucus Room 385 above the Rotunda. The remarks are scheduled from 6:30pm to 7:30pm in the Caucus Room. The public is invited free of charge.

Helen Suzman: Fighter for Human Rights traces the life and times of a great South African. We are deeply honored and delighted that the role of this extraordinary woman will be recognized in Washington, DC,” said Professor Milton Shain, Director of the Isaac and Jessie Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research, University of Cape Town.

From the start of her political career that spanned almost four decades, Helen Suzman opposed the evils of apartheid and used the parliamentary system to challenge these inhumane policies. For thirteen years (1961-1974) she was the only Progressive Party member of Parliament and the sole opposition voice condemning apartheid. Through photographs, personal letters, quotations from speeches and news articles, this exhibition tells of the animosity, anti-Semitism and intimidation Suzman faced throughout her career. It also highlights her enduring friendship with Nelson Mandela which began in early 1967 when she met him at the infamous Robben Island Prison where he was a political prisoner.

Suzman was nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Price in recognition of her contribution to the pursuit of justice in South Africa. She received the United Nations Award of the International League for Human Rights in 1978. In 1989, Queen Elizabeth conferred on her an Honorary Dame Commander (Civil Division) of the Order of the British Empire. Suzman died on January 1, 2009, at the age of 91. Flags across South Africa were flown at half-mast while tributes poured in from around the world.

If you go:
Exhibition on View at the Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda, Washington, DC
(April 27 – MAY 1, 2009)

The United States tour of the exhibition is sponsored by the Dobkin Family Foundation and the Tolan Family Foundation.

For more information contact Exhibition Manager, Jill Vexler, PhD at 212-505-6427, jill@jillvexler.com or Publicist, Rachel Tarlow Gul at 201-503-1321, Rachel@otrpr.com.

3 Responses to “Exhibition Honoring Helen Suzman”


  1. 1 Rosemary and Alain Enthoven Mar 27th, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    We will not be in Washington for this wonderful event honoring a great woman. Will the Exhibit be coming to San Francisco? If it does, please send us a notice.

    Rosemary and Alain Enthoven

  2. 2 Jane Bell Mar 30th, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I have known about Helen Suzman for many years and it brought tears to my eyes to see this tribute here in the US at this time in world history. I would love to see it but cannot.

    It would be wonderful if it could come to San Francisco.

  3. 3 Joy de Beyer Mar 31st, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Is there any possibility that the exhibition could be open longer than just those few days?

    She was indeed a remarkable person, whose integrity, decency and intellect shone for so many dark decades.

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