A new book tells the story of an Auschwitz survivor who moved to Belfast and became a pioneer of modern dance in Ireland.
Helen Lewis: Shadows Behind The Dance, by Maddy Tongue, will be launched on International Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday in Belfast.
Mrs Lewis, who was born Helena Katz, grew up in Czechoslovakia, where she trained as a choreographer and dancer.
After the Nazi invasion of her country, her family was sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz where she narrowly escaped death.
After the war she moved to Northern Ireland where she was a founding member of the Belfast Modern Dance Group.
Mrs Lewis, a mother of two, wrote her own book, A Time To Speak, about her experiences in Auschwitz.
She died in 2009, aged 93. The Ulster History Circle erected a blue plaque in her honour at the Crescent Arts Centre in south Belfast.
Ms Tongue’s book is a collection of memoir, history, poetry and art from contributors who knew Mrs Lewis.
The author knew her for more than 50 years and performed as a dancer in many of her works.
The book details the choreographer’s struggle to overcome indifference to modern dance in Northern Ireland.
It also includes an interview with Mrs Lewis, conducted by poet Chris Agee in 2002.
He said: “Maddy’s book is a piece of exceptional literary content and a major reflection of the post-war cultural landscape in Belfast.
“I had the pleasure of meeting Helen Lewis myself and I find Maddy’s story of her struggle to develop modern dance in the aftermath of war in Europe highly moving.”
The book includes five Holocaust poems by Michael Longley and drawings by Sarah Longley. Mrs Lewis’s sons, Robin and Michael, have written the foreword. The book is published by Irish Pages Press and supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Helen Lewis: Shadows Behind The Dance will be launched at 4.30pm on Friday at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast