Holocaust Memorial Day

With Auschwitz to the back of the camera towards the life denied.
Photo: Niels Larsen, 2014.

today I am standing before you - a survivor
personifying silence

- two lines of the poem Auschwitz by Andrzej Ostrowski. The silence from the impossibility of using old and worn words to describe the not before known.

"We became aware that our language lacks words to express this offense, this demolition of man" with which the likewise Auschwitz-survivor and author Primo Levi described how the survivor is being torn between the impossible and yet the need to tell what took place, living in the constant torture of never being able to leave the camp mentally.

Primo Levi wrote some of the most important works on Auschwitz and let us on this day, 70 years to the day of the Russian troops liberating the camp, quote his words taking us to the core of that very feeling of necessity; the task he and his co-prisoners put upon us: Act. Act when needed to so that extermination camps of this kind shall remain a monument of what took place and never again become a place to murder the living:

Detail of the metal sign above the entrance to the Auschwitz camp on what it was not.
Photo: Niels Larsen, 2013.



From whatever country you come,
look at the ruins of the camp.
Think, and do all you can,
so your pilgrimage
be not in vain,
as was not in vain our death...

The shape of the hole poked in the can says it all
- the type of device used, the one blow with which it was done,
the procedure having been gone through so many times.
Each can represents the murder of humans crammed into one chamber.
Photo: Niels Larsen, 2014.

For you and your children,
the ashes of Auschwitz are
a warning.

"the city which was dying of Zyklon B
the city which was drowning in its own ashes"
- from the poem Oswiecim by Immanuel Mifsud
Photo: Niels Larsen, 2013.

Act so that the terrible fruit
of hatred,
whose traces you saw here,
will never grow a new seed
neither tomorrow, nor ever!

Photo: Niels Larsen, 2013.

The photos shown are courtesy of Niels Larsen and must not be reproduced without his permission.

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