Artworks retell Holocaust stories

Published: Thursday 22nd January 2015 by The News Editor

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Artworks will be unveiled today as part of a project retelling the stories of “the imponderable brutality and evil” of the Holocaust.

The works, by seven British writers and artists including Stephen Fry, include poetry, ceramics, sculpture, animation and film, and their online unveiling is just days before the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on January 27 which is also Holocaust Memorial Day.

They are the result of meetings between the artists and survivors of the atrocities in Nazi-occupied Europe and the genocide in Bosnia, which happened 20 years ago this year.

The Memory Makers project, run by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, paired seven British artists with survivors living in the UK.

Stephen Fry met 89-year-old Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, a cellist and a surviving member of the Women’s Orchestra in Auschwitz, in November last year, and their meeting inspired a written response to the experiences she shared with him at her home in London called Art, Music, Life.

Fry said: “It’s hard, it’s grotesque and it’s almost unbelievable but as witnesses to the imponderable brutality and evil of the Holocaust dwindle in number, so swell in number those who choose, for whatever reason, to deny its existence.

“Holocaust deniers are finding it easier and easier to wave a hand dismissively and claim that there’s no proof, that the numbers are wholly exaggerated, that it was all a myth.

“I was inspired to write my piece after the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust arranged for me to meet Anita Lasker-Wallfisch. I hope that by reading it, and by sharing Anita’s remarkable story, people will have taken a moment to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2015.”

Welsh animator Gemma Green-Hope, 26, met Ivor Perl, 82, who was sent to Auschwitz with his parents and eight siblings, and survived with only one brother.

Ms Green-Hope said his story was both “remarkable” and “moving”, adding: “I feel a connection with his story because my stepfather’s grandmother was killed in Auschwitz and I wanted to help ensure that survivors’ experiences are not forgotten by younger generations.

“It’s important that we each take a step to keep these people’s stories alive.”

The other artists include London-based poet Sarah Hesketh, who met 92-year-old Holocaust survivor Sabina Miller, and London-born collage artist Martin O’Neil, in collaboration with Andrew Griffin, met 82-year-old Holocaust survivor Bettine Le Beau.

Clare Twomey, a ceramicist and research fellow at the University of Westminster, met Nisad Sisko Jakupovic, 49, a survivor of the Omarska concentration camp in Bosnia, and f ilm director Debs Paterson met Holocaust survivor Janine Webber.

Olivia Marks-Woldman, chief executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said: “These works interpret survivors’ life stories in new ways and are a fantastic tribute to the survivors and their memories.

“These powerful and beautiful artistic responses to personal experiences of the Holocaust and genocide challenge us to consider our own responses to the past and responsibilities today.

“These artworks remind us how important it is to confront all forms of hatred and discrimination wherever we see them, and we hope they will take their message to new audiences and communicate their lessons for us all.”

The artworks and the stories behind them can be viewed on

Published: Thursday 22nd January 2015 by The News Editor

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