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New exhibition shows portraits of Auschwitz survivors

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 07.07.2019 09:00
An open-air exhibition featuring 21 portraits of Auschwitz survivors, including Jews and Catholic Poles, is on view along the route leading to the main entrance to the former Nazi German concentration camp in southern Poland.
Entrance to the former Auschwitz death camp with the infamous "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work sets you free) sign.Entrance to the former Auschwitz death camp with the infamous "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work sets you free) sign.Photo: Jochen Zimmermann/Wikimedia Commons/License: CC Attribution 2.0 Generic

The Through the Lens of Faith exhibition has been put together by the Amud Aish Memorial Museum in New York according to a design by the renowned architect Daniel Libeskind.

The portraits are the work of US artist Caryl Englander, who photographed her subjects, aged between 80 and 102, in their home environments.

Many of them stare directly into the lens, exposing their tattooed serial camp numbers. Each portrait is accompanied by a personal account of their Auschwitz ordeal.

Among the portraits are those of Polish Catholic writer Zofia Posmysz, German Sinti survivor Peter Höllenreiner, and Polish Jews Yitzchok Baruch Schachter and Esther Peterseil.

Libeskind said: “This exhibition brings the stories of the survivors into focus while weaving their intimate accounts into the context of the camp and contemporary life.”

Curator Henri Lustiger Thaler of the Amud Aish Memorial Museum said: “We present stories that are very different from epic-like narratives of ‘spiritual resistance.’ We engage everyday accounts of life in Auschwitz-Birkenau, where faith functioned as a human anchor, a touchstone for expressions of identity and longings for freedom.”

The director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, Piotr Cywiński, described the exhibition as unique.

He said: “It speaks of the humanity of the victims—for Auschwitz was not only a place of man’s physical annihilation. It was also a place of the destruction of the human psyche, and for very many prisoners—a place of spiritual destruction. Such a perspective has not been explored at any exhibition here so far.”

The Through the Lens of Faith exhibition runs until the end of October 2020. It is one of the events marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27, 1945.


tags: Auschwitz
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