In 2005, Liebe Geft and Elana Samuels approached Marissa about creating a portrait series of the Holocaust survivors associated with the Museum of Tolerance. Many of the survivors speak to school children in weekly ‘living history’ presentations, recounting over and over again their experiences during the Holocaust. Others volunteer their time tirelessly working in the Center.

“Over the months which turned into years that the portrait sessions spanned, and during the countless hours passed in interviews, hearing the stories had an unexpected personal impact for me, as well. My parents were Holocaust refugees from Hungary and Yugoslavia, arriving in America November of 1938, and many family members, including my paternal grandparents who were killed in a massacre in 1942, perished in The Holocaust. I had always imagined my lost family, and the photographs of them that were never taken or preserved. Meeting and photographing the survivors during this project felt like I had found my family, as stories, names and locales were very familiar. In a way, this project gave me my past. For this I am very grateful, and equally grateful to everyone at the Museum of Tolerance and Simon Wiesenthal Center for this amazing opportunity.”

The New York Times ran a slideshow of images of the Museum featuring this photograph of Marissa’s permanent installation, taken by friend and colleague Monica Almeida.