Thursday, May 2, 2024

Virtual exhibition marking Yom HaShoah: "Responsibility for Memory"


Virtual exhibition marking Yom HaShoah
"Responsibility for Memory:
The Role of Art in Holocaust Remembrance"


In observance of Yom HaShoah, the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme presents the virtual exhibition, Responsibility of Memory: The Role of Art in Holocaust Remembrance, featuring three generations of artists whose lives were impacted by the Holocaust, and whose art was shaped by this experience. 


Responsibility for Memory

Clockwise from the left: Yehuda Bacon, Woman with child at the barbed wire fence of a concentration camp, Museum am Dom, Diocese of Würzburg, Art Collection Foundation; Yehuda Bacon, Aquarell, Museum am Dom, Diocese of Würzburg, Art Collection Foundation; Yehuda Bacon, Before the Transport to Terezin, 1945, Collection of the Yad Vashem Art Museum, Jerusalem, Photo © Yad Vashem Art Museum, Jerusalem


Artist and Holocaust survivor Yehuda Bacon (b.1929) is at the centre of the exhibition. Bacon was 13 when he was deported to Terezín, then to Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Death Camp (1940-1945). Bacon was one of the few to survive the "death march" to Mauthausen. On 4 May 1945, Bacon was liberated at Gunskirchen, a subcamp of Mauthausen. He was 15.

The exhibition illuminates Bacon’s contribution through his art to Holocaust memory and history—his sketches of the crematoria and gas chambers of the Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Death Camp (1940-1945) were later used as evidence in the Eichmann trial of 1961—and to contemporary art.

The exhibition includes the work of Felix Nussbaum and Ludwig Meidner. Both responded to the terror of the November Pogrom of 1938 through art, foreseeing the destruction of European Jewry. Other artists included in the exhibition are Karel Fleischmann and Peter Kien, both of whom taught Bacon in Terezín, as well as Helga Wolfenstein King, Jonasz Stern and Boris Lurie. The exhibition concludes with Bacon’s student Sigalit Landau, an influential contemporary artist and daughter of a Holocaust survivor.

The exhibition highlights the importance of art for Holocaust remembrance today. The works of three generations of artists reflect their experiences of, and responses to, the Holocaust, and make an important contribution to Holocaust education and remembrance.

The exhibition was curated by the Center for Persecuted Arts and Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, and was sponsored by the German Federal Foreign Office with the support of the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations.


“I think everyone ... should ask oneself what can I do with this life?” 

- Yehuda Bacon, Holocaust survivor, artist and educator





Mr. Jürgen Joseph Kaumkötter

Watch a short interview with Mr. Jürgen Joseph Kaumkötter, Director, Center for Persecuted Arts and co-curator of the exhibition.


"Every piece of art, every sketch, every drawing to the wall, is a step against the destructive power of the Nazis. Like a piece of freedom, like a piece of humanity, in this unbelievable black and dark world." —Jürgen Joseph Kaumkötter, Director, Center for Persecuted Arts