Manfred Bockelmann’s large format portraits of children and youth
With the exhibition by Manfred Bockelmann “Drawing Against Oblivion”, set in the French Pavilion in Zagreb and opening on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, on 27 January, the City of Zagreb and Croatia marks with dignity the day on which the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2005 adopted the formal resolution on the commemoration of the day.
The exhibition Drawing Against Oblivion as a reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust, at the same time restores dignity to all those who were killed and becomes heritage that will witness the truth about the horrors of the most disgraceful chapters of human history for the generations to come.
The portraits show children and young people who were victims of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, children’s clinic Am Spiegelgrund in Vienna, Hartheim Euthanasia Centre, Theresienstadt Ghetto and many other horrific places.
There were all killed in the period between 1941 and 1945 only because they were Jewish, Slavic or ‘Gypsies’, because they suffered from some physical or psychological illness, or because their parents were involved in some form of political resistance to the regime. In the eyes of the racial fanaticism of the Third Reich, they were ‘national vermin’ that needed to be eliminated in order to maintain ‘the purity of German Arian blood’. The portraits were modelled after the so-called “photo identification” taken upon the arrival to the concentration camps. Persons on those photographs were actually looking straight into their killers’ eyes.