Walls from Auswitz
3. May 2012. -
Opening: 2. May 2012 at 18:00
Although there are no graves here, the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp is one of the greatest cemeteries in history. There are no graves or inscriptions, although only in 1944 several hundred thousand Jews were deported here to be murdered.
A few of them – the braver ones? the more deperate ones? those who were more tenacious? the hopeful ones? – had left imprints of their existence. We don’t know how much time they had spent with this, but with painstaking work – in sunshine? rain? mud? wind? – with a small nail? a hairpin? their own nails? a piece of metal? a sherd of glass? a pebble? – meant as a message? a petition? a prayer? a memorial? – they had carved their names into the Western Wall of the camp, the bricks and mortar of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Writing in the wall.
Name, city, date, sometimes profession, a few prisoner numbers. Writing in the wall, the names are the absence of the wall itself. Absent continuity, absent fate.
I met these names in 2004 for the first time. I’ve been looking for them ever since on the exterior and interior walls of the barracks, the one-time "sauna", the kitchens, the attics, the chimney pillars, the latrines. There are many of them.
Absent continuity, absent fate. Only their absence can be drawn. This is how I commemorate them.
The work – which depicts 11 wall sections and was created with frottage technique – commemorates the names and dates scratched into the bricks of the camp.