MAD(E) in USA
Shadows of Auschwitz
Shadows of Auschwitz is intended as a remembrance and as a tribute to the human spirit. It pays homage to those who suffered, perished, and survived in Auschwitz. The tattoo numbers on the mirrors and the paper documents on the exit wall were sent by the Auschwitz Union and other survivors. Their names are inscribed on a scroll and kept in a pouch that once held phylacteries – two black leather boxes containing sacred texts from the Old Testament, bound by black leather straps, and worn close to the heart on the left arm and on the forehead by devout Jewish men in morning prayer.
There are three passages in the work. The first suggests the railroad ramp at Auschwitz with the train image on the fence slats. The writing on the wall is a quote from Auschwitz survivor and Nobel Prize winner for literature, Primo Levi, and is a warning and reminder for all of us. The second is behind the fence. Viewers see themselves in mirrors, covered with tattoo numbers. Initially, most of the numbers were from the 1942-43 ledgers of Auschwitz that were held by the Soviets and finally released in the late 1980s. Each number sent to the artist by a survivor replaced one from the ledger. In the last passage, the row of lit bare light bulbs leads to the back wall covered with correspondence form survivors and documents filed by former slaved laborers. Lidia Vago of Petah Tikvah, Israel, founder of the “Union” committee, organized the slave laborers form around the world, to sue the German government for back wages. The last passage is one of Hope.
Shadows of Birkenau-Zur Desinfektion
Shadows of Hibakusha
Shadows of Pika
Third World Police Torture – Chicago Style
Tic Tac Toe
Verordnung! Notes form the Warsaw Ghetto: The 19-minute continuous-play audio tape of “Verordnung” is comprised of excerpts from the diary of Emmanuel Ringelblum found in carons and milk cans discovered buried in the rubble of Warsaw after the war in 1956. Two milk cans were found in 1950. A third can has not been found. The work is in tribute to Emmanuel Ringelblum, “Archivist of the Warsaw Ghetto,” and to the several dozen people who joined his underground organization, Oneg Shabbat, to document what was happening to the Jews of Poland during the war. Knowing the destruction of the ghetto was imminent, the documents were placed in sealed milk cans and buried deep in the ground.
It is the heroism, determination, and courage of Ringelblum and of the men and women who secretly joined together at great personal peril, that I wish to honor. Knowing they were doomed, they selflessly preserved these historically significant archives for all posterity.
The audio text of this work was excerpted from the journal, Notes from the Warsaw Ghetto: The Journal of Emmanuel Ringelblum, NY: McGraw-Haill, 1958, and recorded by Dr. Felix Horn. Dr. Horn was born in Lublin, Poland in 1920. In 1939, at the beginning of the war, as the Gestapo began rounding up young Jewish men, Dr. Horn escaped to Soviet occupied Lwow, where he studied medicine until the Germans declared war on the Soviets in 1941. He secretly retuned to Lublin in December of that year and when the Lublin ghetto was liquidated in November 1942, he fled with his fiancé to Warsaw. They lived at Mila 18 Street in the Ghetto where they married. Nine days prior to April 1943 uprising, and with the help of the Polish underground organization, Armja Krajowa, they escaped the Ghetto and witnessed its fiery destruction from outside the walls.