My first stop on day two of the Richmond Trip (okay maybe Dunkin Doughnuts was the real first stop…anyway…continuing on…) is the Virginia Holocaust Museum. Current home of the Blank Family Papers, a collection that focuses on Margot Blank, wife of Allan, artist and Holocaust survivor.

Biography of Margot Blank, The Blank Family Papers, courtesy of the Virginia Holocaust Museum

The museum staff were extremely accommodating, allowing me to view the collection while in the midst of installing a new exhibition. (check it out, it looks amazing!)

Director of Collections, Tim Hensley, spoke to me as I was reviewing folders and taking notes. He remarked that “Allan was a very sweet man”. Mostly quiet and serious while Margot Blank was alive, however Mr. Blank was the main source regarding the biographical information of his wife for the collection. She on the other hand was more social, but still very private, never speaking of her experiences in the camps.

Allan and Margot Blank on their wedding day, the Blank Family Papers, courtesy of the Virginia Holocaust Museum

The core aspect of the collection is the many facets of Margot Blank, it is however, called the Blank Family Papers.

The caption reads “L to R Hyman Blank, Gusta (Gertrude) Schwartz, Samuel Blank, Harry and Allan Blank”, the Blank Family Papers, Virginia Holocaust Museum

Caption reads: “Left to Right Gusta (Gertrude) Blank, Harry and Allan in front. Don’t know who the other people are.”, the Blank Family Papers, the Virginia Holocaust Museum

In the collection has a number of letters from both Hyman and Gusta Blank (Allan Blank’s parents) detailing everyday occurrences, tickets from European trips and poems.

While my initial plan for visiting the museum was to discover more about Allan Blank, I left with a better understanding of Margot Blank and her remarkable life. Mr. Blank married an incredibly talented, strong and creative woman that speaks volumes about both her and him.

Allan and Margot Blank, the Blank Family Papers, courtesy of the Virginia Holocaust Museum

I definitely encourage you to visit the museum if you happen to be in the Richmond area. It is a heart wrenching, sorrowful experience, yet it leaves you filled with awe at the power of the human spirit.