Invited to Life: Interview with B.A. Van Sise

by Jennifer Roberts

When the U.S. went into lockdown in 2020, B.A. Van Sise — an award-winning photojournalist whose work has been featured in the New York Times, on PBS NewsHour, the Daily Mail, and on NPR — hit the road. His mission? To visit Holocaust survivors who had made their homes in America. He traveled with solemnity and seriousness and was met with… cookies. Time and time again, B.A. was beguiled by the warmth, charm, and humor of these brave elderly people who have faced more hardship than most could ever imagine. The result is Invited to Life, first an exhibition at the Museum of Jewish Heritage and now a book of the same name.

Intrepid Times’ founder, Nathan James Thomas, recently interviewed B.A. and spoke with him about the refugee experience, what life after trauma can look like, and the challenge of helping Holocaust survivors talk about their experience in ways that go beyond the generally accepted scripts. In the interview, B.A. also offers some behind-the-scenes insight into where the idea for the book came from, how the contributors to the book were chosen, and how many survivors’ stories surprised him.

Listen to the interview here:

Invited to Life: Finding Hope After the Holocaust will be available from Friday, January 27th. You can pick up your copy online here. You can discover more of B.A.’s work on his website: https://bavansise.format.com/.

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