Shoah - White silent hell - Stills from the short film
Titled : White Silent Hell 2007 | Media: Photographs on aluminum| by Thomas Dellert Photographs from a frozen day in Auschwitz Birkenau Assembled together in triptychs. These photographs accompanies the short movie with the same name. White Silent Hell Short film by Thomas Dellert : https://vimeo.com/131558330
Photography & Video documentation from Auschwitz-Berkenau-Dachau-Terezin/Theresientadt.
“My art tries to tell the history of the Holocaust” Thomas Dellert
This collection of works has gradually developed over the last 30 years. It combines my interest for humanity and history, with my passion and belief in the inherent necessity for the story of the Holocaust to be told. I feel that it is vital to keep the story alive and to ensure, that the truth reaches out, especially in times of denial.
“The Holocaust defies literature. We think we are describing an event, we transmit only its reflection. No one has the right to speak for the dead.. Still the story has to be told. In spite of all risks, all possible misunderstandings. It needs to be told for the sake of our children”Eli Wiesel
I also view it as an important warning and wake-up call for the younger generation that is so easily misled. Today we face new dangers in the form of Neo-Nazism and Islamic fundamentalism and this is something we all have to take very seriously. It is imperative we do all of which we are capable to avoid a repetition of this aspect of modern history.
For the “Shoah” project I have used several different forms of media: Painting and collage on canvas complimented with sculptural elements in the form of objects that draw a direct link to the persecutions and exterminations. I have also used traditional photography and video installation based on what is today left of the actual places in which the crimes occurred.
Many of my works have an educational approach, but others are more poetic in their reflection upon what is one of the darkest periods in the history of mankind. It is impossible to portray the horrors of the Holocaust justly, as the magnitude of the crimes is beyond all comprehension and understanding. Still we have to try, we owe it to our children and the millions that perished.
I also believe it is important to approach the subject in as many different ways as possible, in order to reach out to as many people as possible in addition to conveying the message to future generations, not only those for whom the holocaust is a memory.
The story of Shoah must be conveyed to people of all faiths and of all nationalities in order that no one should be fooled. This is particularly resonant when those like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad assert that the truth of the Holocaust still has to be investigated.
The world is full of “revisionists“ and Holocaust deniers.
The truth and reality of what happened can be hard to understand, or even to accept, but it cannot be questioned or denied. Art is only one tool in this mission to “tell the story”, but often an effective one. It reaches and touches other groups of people.
I see my humble involvement, through this collection of pictures, as no more than a handful of dust, yet this dust is a part of our testament, my contribution to collective memory, one could say.
In my recent series of photographs, taken in both Auschwitz Birkenau and Kazimierz the Jewish quarters in Krakow during the winter of 2007, I have combined images in order to tell the story chronologically. I have also documented Terezin (Theresienstadt) and Dachau concentration camp.
These ‘triptychs’ in the form of vast silent winter landscapes, with crumbling concrete from blown-up gas chambers, that take the shape of monsters, organic, frightening. Depictions of the many piles of shoes that remain, glasses, pots and pans are a harsh reminder of the many scattered lives. Furthermore, the walls, where inscriptions borne of pain are still clearly visible, worn down floors upon which thousands passed on their way to a premature death, lay testament to the torment those many men and women experienced. The barbed wire cuts through the clear blue sky like a razor. All of this remains, frozen in time, covered with frosty ice and as with the annual rings defining the age of a tree in the forest of remembrance.
The images contrast each other and at the same time they are all telling the same story. They are documents of pain. It is a sort of excavation of this pain within the objects, a frozen landscape where time stands still, but where the thought and spirit travels freely: A silent white hell, in which the ashes hide under a frozen pond.
I have entered this landscape, in silence and with respect for its many victims.