Memoria [EN] No 42 (03/2021) - Page 8

‘A Wounded Landscape

- bearing witness to the Holocaust’

There are nearly 40,000 sites, in Germany and in countries which the Germans occupied between 1939 and 1945. There, the Nazis and their collaborators systematically murdered nearly six million Jews as well as a huge number of people from other groups considered by the Nazis to be inferior, racially or for ideological or political reasons. These groups included Roma, homosexuals, the mentally and physically disabled, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Communists, and more than three million Soviet prisoners of war.

 

These sites persist today throughout these countries. Together they formed a pathway to genocide: destroyed communities and ghettos, internment camps, transit camps, labour camps, sub camps, concentration camps, extermination camps and displacement camps. They are connected by the landscapes that surround them, and the forced journeys made between them. At these sites, individual killings and slaughter on a mass scale took place, the numbers involved almost beyond our understanding. These are sites where literal life or death decisions were made, but they are also sites of hope, survival and memory.

 

“I sat for hours listening to Rita, Harry, Lillian and others share their stories with me. I listened to stories of their parents and grandparents, their brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. I have listened to stories in English, French, Hebrew, Polish, Dutch and Russian.

After these long conversation I would make the portraits and then I would travel to over 130 locations in 20 countries making the work.

My aim being to share these stories as they were shared with me, stories of an individual and reflected in a thousand other individuals, a million other stories. To help the viewer understand how we could so easily have been, or could become, these stories. We children, parents, grandparents, brother and sisters.

 

           “The Wiener Library has numerous opportunities to see artistic responses

             to the Holocaust, and I can state unambiguously that Marc’s work is among

             the finest and most sensitive that we have seen in many years" -         Ben Barkow, Former Director, The Wiener Holocaust Library.

 

I never searched for a particular story, never wanting to highlight one part of this history over another, each individual as important as the other.

The first was that of Aaron Ianco and his family from Romania, my great grandfather and the journey that ended in the smoke and ashes of Auschwitz, via Drancy in Paris. The next came from there and onwards for 6 years.”

 

Now the work is complete and being made into a book - 750 pages, 350 photographs, the story transcriptions, text and maps.

Waiting for 15 years until he had found the right visual language to give justice to these stories, since May 2015, the British / Swiss photographer Marc Wilson has been making the work ‘A Wounded Landscape - bearing witness to the Holocaust’. A work made up of 22 stories of individuals who survived or were murdered in the Holocaust.

Marc Wilson