Digital installations for an exhibit about the insurmountable challenges facing emigrants from 1930s Nazi-occupied Europe.
At the entrance of “Against the Odds: American Jews and the Rescue of Europe’s Refugees, 1933-1941” is a mobile consisting of columns of papers connected by fishing lines. It is a powerful symbol, putting visitors on notice that the backdrop of this show at the Museum of Jewish Heritage is not just the escalating violence of that era but a different sort of evil. The chief enemy here is bureaucracy, buttressed by national opposition to immigration. This wrenching and elegant exhibition tells its story, of both rescue and the impediments to rescue, almost as much through design (by C&G Partners) as content. It is constructed as a sort of maze with walls of paper. Color, too, is used effectively, with text panels in red, for instance, denoting high danger and those in black symbolizing cutoff of avenues of escape once World War II began. These are supplemented by photographs and other images, a handful of artifacts and iPad technology. This is a quiet, dignified show, in keeping with its theme.