This week we welcomed Amy and Matthew Smith to the Library, legal activists and scholars who are working to protect the Rohingya in Myanmar. They presented our Director, Dr Toby Simpson, with a new book they have created with survivors of the genocide.

A Chance to Breathe is a photography book which features a selection of photos and poetry by three ethnic Rohingya photographers from Myanmar. Because of the discriminatory and genocidal policies of the Myanmar authorities towards the Rohingya Muslim population, these authors were forced to flee their homes in Rakhine State. Since 2018, they have been documenting the conditions of life in the refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh.

The book is published by Amy and Matthew’s human rights NGO, Fortify Rights, and alongside the photographs features text in both Burmese and English.

We were also joined by Linda Karshan, an artist, patron of the Roger E. Joseph Prize, and generous donor to the Library. The Library was awarded the Roger E. Joseph Prize in 1999, for “keeping alive the memories of Jewish history and culture in Europe”.