Letters to Afar: Oct 22, 2014 - Mar 31, 2015

Co-presented by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

Letters to Afar: By Péter Forgács, music by the Klezmatics is an immersive video art installation based on home movies made by New York City’s Jewish immigrants who traveled back to visit Poland during the 1920s and 30s. The films document poignant family reunions and everyday life in small towns in the years before the Second World War, capturing a culture on the brink.

The installation was created by Hungarian artist Péter Forgács, under a commission by the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. With a haunting soundtrack by the New York-based band The Klezmatics, these “letters” bring to life a lost world in startling and moving detail.

The exhibition is made possible with generous support from:

The Kronhill Pletka Foundation
Righteous Persons Foundation
Seedlings Foundation
Sigmund Rolat

Additional support is provided by New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

View Videos

With a haunting soundtrack by the New York-based band The Klezmatics, filmmaker Péter Forgács's “letters” bring to life a lost world in startling and moving detail.

Free Guided Tours

Join us on Sundays for guided tours of the exhibition, free with Museum admission. The tours will take place every Sunday at noon and 1:00 pm, for the duration of the exhibition. Space is limited and is first-come first-served.

Public Programs

A Taste of the Old World: Jewish Food and Memory
Thursday, March 5th at 6:30pm
Join a panel of leading food writers, purveyors and restaurant owners to discuss the powerful connections between Jewish New Yorkers and the culinary traditions of their 19th-century Eastern European forbears.

Poland TODAY | The New York—Warsaw—Krakow Connection
Monday, March 30 at 6:30pm
Join speakers from Poland and New York who will be sharing their views of 21st-century Jewish life in Poland, followed by a reception, live Klezmer music, and a viewing of the exhibition Letters to Afar.


  • "Precious Windows on a Vanished World" New York Times
  • "Péter Forgács’ Memory Art Brings Phantoms of Eastern Europe to Light" Tablet
  • "In Hands of Hungarian Artist, Jewish Home Movies of the ’30s a Warning of Coming Holocaust" The Daily Beast
  • "New Film Exhibit Gives Moving Glimpse of Pre-WWII Jewish Poland" The Times of Israel
  • "A Monument to the World Before the Holocaust" The Jewish Daily Forward
  • "Professor finds long-lost home movies playing at NYC museum" New York Post
  • Buy Tickets

    Admission to the Museum of the City of New York includes all exhibitions currently on view. The Museum is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm.

    Buy Tickets


    James G. Dinan and Elizabeth R. Miller Gallery
    First Floor