Nine years after John and Amy Pregulam began their project of photographing living Holocaust survivors at KAVOD, the incredible undertaking has taken them from Memphis, to Houston, Orlando, Israel, Poland, Prague, Tokyo, and also right here in Staten Island.
After initially being invited to photograph Holocaust survivors at a museum in Skokie, Illinois where John took pictures of 65 survivors in three days, the Pregulam’s thankfully were able to visit Staten Island in 2019 prior to the COVID pandemic moved the interview and photo process from in-person to virtual sessions. Back then prior to the pandemic, the number of Holocaust survivors in the United States was reportedly about 80,000 and included then-Staten Island Holocaust survivors Arthur Spielman, Egon Salmon (who passed away in September 2022), Hannah Steiner and Shirley Gottesman were in attendance.
According to the Washington Post, there are about currently roughly 60,000 Holocaust survivors residing in the United States, and about a third of them are living in poverty. It makes the work of John (who first started taking photos of survivors in 2012) and Amy Pregulam even more picture perfect.
“[The] photographs led to us knowing the issue which led to us forming KAVOD and then it circled back around to having the photos help us teach the stories and be witnesses to the stories,” Amy Pregulman explained during her visit to Staten Island in 2019.
The photographs are displayed on the KAVOD website under “Holocaust Survivor Legacy Photography Project” and are exhibited in Holocaust museums around the world, allowing Staten Island to be a piece to the larger puzzle when it comes to documenting the history of Holocaust survivors.
You can visit KAVOD to learn more about John and Amy Pregulam to learn more about their national initiative.