Opens Monday 25 November 2019
It’s Personal is an exhibition of large-scale photographs detailing small, personal artefacts housed in the archives at Sachsenhausen and Ravensbrück concentration camps. These items were donated or left behind by Holocaust victims.
Photographer Richard Wiesel, nephew of Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel, was overwhelmed by his visit to Sachsenhausen and Ravensbrück last year. He was inspired to tell the experiences and fates of the camps’ former prisoners who were not able to tell their own stories.
Richard was granted privileged and exclusive access to the closed archives of the memorial sites to photograph items such as the teddy bear of a young Roma boy, a shoe with a secret compartment, and a baby’s dress. These items have not been exhibited to the public. With the research of renowned German historian Dr Robert Sommer, Richard was able to trace the often tragic stories behind these personal artefacts.
“By using extensive contextualisation and historical research, we have been able to rescue the voices of the dead and give the silent an opportunity to speak to us once again with collective voices.”
– Richard Wiesel
These enlarged images are as sensitive as they are confronting. What the artist hopes is that the stories which emerge from the artefacts’ fine details prompt the question: ‘Have things really changed for the better?’