There is a photo – at the Vas County Archive, Szombathely (Hungary). There is a woman, Erzsébet Horváth. We know quite a lot about her: she was born in Rábakeszthely in 1920. Her parents are Károly Horváth and Rozália Horváth. She is of medium height. She has oval face and her hair is cooper red. Her eyes are blue and she has no missing tooth. She is Catholic and works as a day-labourer. We know barely anything about her.
Photographic images play a key role in shaping both our knowledge and our memory of the Holocaust. Images bridge across time and space, function as links in trans- and intergenerational communication as well as enable the secondary generation to touch the past, to identify with the lost past world and to remember it.
There are approximately two million photographs of the Holocaust scattered all around the world hidden in libraries or archives however only a small number of images are incorporated in our collective knowledge. Nevertheless, in the case of the Roma Holocaust in Hungary it is hard to consider any photographs as well-know Holocaust-icons, and those few which can be considered as authentic documents of massive destruction fail to constitute an inherent part of the visual canon of the Holocaust.
The exhibition focuses on the memory of the Roma Holocaust and approaches it from a transgenerational point of view. It invokes the photo – more precisely, a photo and the ID which serves as its direct context – as a vehicle of remembrance. The image talks for itself, however, in order to encourage, multiply the discourse and to create a discursive space around the photo we invited contemporary artists, writers, poets.
A document was registered in May 12, 1937 in Szentgotthárd. A black and white photo is glued on it: it shows Erzsébet Horváth. She rests her left arm on her hips.
The photo belongs to the Roma ID no. 59.