On January 27th, 1945 troops of the Soviet Army freed the concentration camp of Auschwitz in southern Poland. In Auschwitz at least 1.1 million people were gassed, shot and tortured to death. Wilhelm Brasse was a photographer in Auschwitz. His duty was to do photos of around 50,000 prisoners. The crematorium and photo studio in Auschwitz were organized so that a large number of so-called “subhumans” could be disposed of quickly and efficiently. The stool for the installation, a wooden cube, was hit by a photographer’s pedal that, without moving away from the camera in a few seconds, saw the three “views” of the impressive arrangement: front, profile, and trocar. The dark room as an antechamber to the gas chamber. Brasse was an intern: Polish, not Jewish, but when he retired to the Wehrmacht, he had opened himself in front of the fatal gate. His work saved him. In return, he risked his life, saving the documents of “absolute evil” from destruction and hallucinations, about fifty thousand portraits of exterminators and visions of other horrors in our eyes.
Prisoner 39845 was a young Polish girl. her photo was taken around 1943. It hit me so hard that I had to take Brasses photo of her as a template for this piece.
Today on January 27th the world commemorates the Holocaust. The event of utter human evil and the loss of all civilization. It degraded a gorgeous little girl to a number without identity and annihilated her without mercy. Her and millions of others.
The memory of this Holocaust vanishes and we shall make all efforts to never forget what happened in these days. Civilization, compassion and fraternity of the whole human race is still far away today. The same evil of those times today still is alive within many people and in many different forms. Look at her and see the guilt.