Auschwitz Day 2014

- Holocaust Memorial Day in Denmark

Back when the Jewish Museum Berlin opened, Ken Gorbey, who was their Project Director, showed me a map of Europe with the numbers of Jews killed in each country. The number across Denmark said 67. I still feel the shock of seeing the 67! - I think, I was screaming out something like SO MANY, it is a massacre - while Ken was pointing out the difference to the six-digit numbers written across each of the countries south of DK.

Almost all Danish Jews were saved escaping to Sweden in October 1943, a fact of which we shall always be grateful. But 67 (and a bit more, about a 100 in all) still constitutes a massacre, personalities, whose input was lost to Danish life and culture. And no one should ever be forced to leave home, risking his or her life in doing so. The two stories remain interlinked - the Shoah and the escape from it - which makes the iconic solution by Per Arnoldi all the more unique when given the task of creating a poster for the 50th. anniversary of the escape.

As he says himself, the poster had to be as simple as the story is grand, and he continues:

Per Arnoldi, October 1943, The 50th Anniversary of
The Escape and Rescue of the Danish Jews
. 100x70 cm. Saloprint, 1992.

"The story is big enough and the myth even bigger.

So just the simplest devices: The from-here-to-there of escape. The horizon line of the Sound between Denmark and Sweden and the Star of David, tapering towards a direction, a way out.

That this very simple image also came to contain the railway lines, which in the terrible reality of many other stories and holocausts became the image of the ominous road to annihilation was not intentional.

I had not designed that interpretation into my symbol… but it was already there, indelibly, in the story."

- quoted from Per Arnoldi 250 Posters Etc. Basel 2004 with permission of Per Arnoldi.

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