Surplus of Memory
Sculpture on the Holocaust and Human Rights
For nearly 20 years I devoted myself to the issues of the Holocaust and human rights through sculpture. This body of work, entitled “Surplus of Memory,” has been exhibited in more than 10 major museums and universities across the country including the Holocaust Musuem in Washington DC.
Arbeit Macht Frei
“But it did not occur to us that the poison cup was not yet empty, and that we would have to drain it to the last dregs.”
Yitzhak Zuckerman: A Surplus of Memory: Chronicle of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
26 x 24 x 2 1/2 inches
Arbeit Macht Frei is a work in progress. It utilizes a 1924 platbook of Miami, Fl., with annotations through to December 1946. Laminated to each page will be a parchment with drawings related to the period of the life and death of marginalized people.
According to Plan
[Installation view: Museum of Art, Ft. Lauderdale, FL]
Books, wood, steel, chain
10’ 4” x 30’ x 50’
On February 25, 1938, Hitler received a communiqué from Austria stating that everything is proceeding “according to plan”.
AUSSERORDENTLICHE BEFRIEGUNGSAKTION. The “Extraordinary Pacification Action” was the code name the Nazis gave to the program designed to liquidate the Polish intelligentsia.
This quintessentially perverse phrase can embrace so many past and present genocidal conflicts, i.e.: the United States and the American Indians; the Belgians and the Congolese; the Turks and the Armenians; the Kurds and the Armenians; the Germans and the Jews, Gypsies, Communists, homosexuals, and political opposition; Stalin and the Russians; Pol Pot and the Kampucheans; the Chinese and the Tibetans; Muslims over Sikhs in Pakistan; Hindus and Sikhs over Muslims in India; Lebanese Christians and Muslims; the Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda and in Burundi; mainland Africans and Arabs in Zanzibar; Iraq and the Kurds; Turkey and the Kurds; Pakistan and Bangladesh; the Serbs and Bosnia and Kosovo, and many, many more. Can Kent State and Tiananmen Square also be considered “Extraordinary Pacification Actions”? It’s not very far from point A to point B.
Violin Sonata in F Major: The Fire Piece
Frame, violins, bows, epoxy
60 x 42 x 5 inches
Thirteen violins are variously suspended within a heavy black frame. Many more bow strings rest beneath them.
“20 September 1942 Today, Sunday, in the afternoon heard a concert between 3-6 o’clock in the prisoners’ chapel in wonderful sunshine. The conductor was the director of the Warsaw State Opera. 80 musicians. For lunch there was roast pork, in the evening baked trench.”
[From the diary of SS Dr. Kremer]
Wallpiece No. 1
Wood, nails, oil painting on board, concrete, epoxy, steel
81 ½ x 53 x 6 ½ inches
“What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to . teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.”
Viktor E. Frankl Man’s Search for Meaning
Central to the purification of the Aryan race was the elimination of Jewish, Communist, Gypsy, homosexual, and any other political or social group whose mere existence was an anathema to Nazi ideals. While most of the individuals representing these groups were simply killed, for those who were left alive, barely existing in slave labor camps, the elimination of their procreative abilities, particularly among the Jews, was a foremost concern of the Nazis. Not only were Jewish women, especially pregnant Jewish women. among the first to be murdered, but so were their young children. Sterilization experiments were regularly conducted so that those Jews who were “of use” to the Nazis would never be able to have children. The “Christ killers” and race defilers would soon be no more. For the most part, the million or so people who directly facilitated and insured the execution of this program were Christians, many were clergy.
What Was It Like, Aaron
Found object, granite, steel
16 3 4 inches x 20 feet diameter
Six steel plates, six inches wide, one quarter inch thick, and forty-eight inches long, cut in a shape equal to a circle twenty feet in diameter, are placed at equal intervals around the cireumference of this circle. The words WHAT WAS IT LIKE AARON are etched on each of these plates. At the center of the circle, a steel cart supports a tombstone, broken in the shape of a cross, bearing the name Aaron Malkin.
The Crow’s Song
‘I came from very far away
To bring bad news.
I flew across the mountain,
Pierced the low cloud,
Mirrored my belly in the pond.
I flew without resting,
A hundred miles without resting,
To find your window,
To find your ear,
To bring you the sad tidings
That rob you of sleep’s joy,
That taint your bread and wine,
Lodge every evening in your heart.’
This is the way he sang, dancing, vicious,
Beyond the glass, upon the snow.
As he fell silent, he looked about, malign,
Marked a cross on the ground with his beak,
And opened his black wings wide.
Anatomy of the Spirit
[Box No. 95]
organic waste, wood, polymer fresco painting on wood, steel, wire, quail egg
closed: 17 5/8 x 19 x 14 ¾ inches
An entire box, both inside and out, has been covered with termite waste. The interior lid holds a painting of two women. The interior base contains an egg, a coil of rusty wire, and two square steel bars.
“There was one latrine for thirty to thirty-two thousand women and we were permitted to use it only at certain hours of the day. We stood in line to get into this tiny building, knee-deep in human excrement. As we all suffered from dysentery, we could rarely wait until our turn came, and soiled our ragged clothes, which never came off our bodies, thus adding to the horror of our existence by the terrible smell which surrounded us like a cloud. The latrine consisted of a deep ditch with planks thrown across it at certain intervals. We squatted on these planks like birds perched on a telegraph wire, so close together that we could not help soiling one another.” [Gisella Perl, doctor in Auschwitz]
Terrance Des Pres
The Survivor: An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps
Eins, Zwei, Drei
[Collaboration with Sherri Tan]
book, fresco painting, wood, paper collage
6 ½x 15 x 12 inches
It was on the morning when they fetched the son,
tore him from bed, from sleep
as they had torn open the door
to the Shrine of Shrines in the temple
thus they tore him from sleep.
Rachel his wife, too, they tore from sleep,
drove her before them through the Cattle Lane,
the Cattle Lane the widow Rosa sat
at the corner, at the window
and told the story of how it happened
until they shut her mouth
with a thorn, because her husband
Eli in his nightshirt ran after his parents,
his pipe in his hand,
the pipe he had played in the fields
to lamb and calf
and Samuel, the grandfather,
ran after his grandson.
was a gardener.
And when Eli saw,
saw with the eyes of an eight year old
how they drove his parents
through the Cattle Lane, the Cattle Lane,
he put the pipe to his mouth and blew it.
And he did not blow it
as one who pipes to his cattle or in play,
said the widow Rosa while she was yet alive,
no, he threw back his head
like the stag or the roebuck
before it drinks at the spring.
He pointed the pipe to heaven,
he piped to God, did Eli,
said the widow Rosa while she was yet alive.
Eli: A Mystery Play of the Sufferings of Isreal
Plays of the Holocaust
” …. more than 3,500 Jewish children under the age of fourteen who were arrested in Paris on July 16, 1942, and forcibly separated from their mothers at the French camps of Pithiviers and Baune-la-Rolande two weeks later. Their mothers were deported. The children had to fend for themselves until they too were deported, bewildered, terrified, and alone, in sealed cattle cars without light or air, to be murdered upon arrival at Auschwitz.”
The Holocaust, the French, and the Jews
I Never Saw Another Butterfly
Butterﬂies, wood, ground paper
26 x 25 1/2 x 24 inches (open)
The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing
against a white stone. . . .
Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly ‘way up high.
It went away I’m sure because it wished to
kiss the world good-bye.
For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.
Only I never saw another butterﬂy.
That butterﬂy was the last one.
Butterﬂies don’t live in here,
in the ghetto.
April 6, 1942
Les Uns et Les Autres
Books, rail, steel, wood
71 x 36 x 24 inches
“On the evening of May 10, 1933, some four and a half months after Hitler became Chancellor, there occurred in Berlin a scene which had not been witnessed in the Western world since the late Middle Ages. At about midnight a torchlight parade of thousands of students ended at a square on Unter den Linden opposite the University of Berlin. Torches were put to a huge pile of books that had been gathered there, and as the flames enveloped them more books were thrown on the fire until some twenty thousand had been consumed. Similar scenes took place in several other cities. The book burning had begun.
“Many of the books tossed into the flames in Berlin that night by the joyous students under the approving eye of Dr. Goebbels had been written by authors of world reputation. They included, among German writers, Thomas and Heinrich Mann, Lion Feuchtwanger, Jakob Wassermann, Arnold and Stefan Zweig, Erich Maria Remarque, Walther Rathenau, Albert Einstein, Alfred Kerr and Hugo Preuss, the last named being the scholar who had drafted the Weimar Constitution. But not only the works of dozens of German writers were burned. A good many foreign authors were also included: Jack London, Upton Sinclair, Helen Keller, Margaret Sanger, H. G. Wells, Havelock Ellis, Arthur Schnitzler, Freud, Gide, Zola, Proust. In the words of a student proclamation, any book was condemned to the flames ‘which acts subversively on our future or strikes at the root of German thought, the German home and the driving forces of our people.’ “Dr. Goebbels, the new Propaganda Minister, who from now on was to put German culture into a Nazi strait jacket, addressed the students as the burning books turned to ashes. ‘The soul of the German people can again express itself. These flames not only illuminate the final end of an old era; they also light up the new.’”
“Those who begin by burning books, end by burning people.”
19th century German-Jewish poet
Oil on linen on board, gilt frame
26 x 32 inches including frame
“My feelings for him-impossible to untangle from my deep feelings of gratitude-weighted on one end of the scale. And then, on the other end, I saw the image of a baby, my baby, the child I would have with Jan if we manied, a baby with the face of my father-and a cross hanging from his neck…”
“If Jan came to Bytom and began a life here, and I stayed with him, we would never get out of Poland-assuming Jan would be able to get false papers, which was next to impossible. Nor could I return to Skala to live with him there, a lone Jew among Ukrainians, who hated and had murdered my people. We would never be able to leave either place …. We and our children would live out our lives and die in this land of death.”
“How could I condemn my babies to grow up in Poland or the Ukraine, the graveyard for millions of Jews? No, not a graveyard, for there were no graves. The Jews had been burned to ashes, and the ashes had turned to dust which was in the air we breathed and the water we drank. It was like the coal dust of Bytom.”
“I saw myself holding a baby to my breast, and my breast and the baby were black with the ashes of their murdered relatives. Black milk came out of my breast.”
Fanya Gottesfeld Heller
Strange and Unexpected Love
According To Plan II
[Above: installation view: Museum of Art, Ft. Lauderdale, FL]
[Main page: installation view: Fotouhi Kramer Gallery, NYC]
Books, steel, wood
10′ 4″ X 38′ X 2′
The Evolution of Man
In his most graphic dreams,
He encounters a recurring theme:
His sleep is besieged with screaming silence
Issuing from myriad precursors of modern man —
And Homo sapiens. Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon —
Executing grotesque acts of homicide
By ripping invaders and tribesmen
Limb from hirsute limb
And viciously dismembering fingers, toes,
Heads, testicles, and breasts
With premeditated, sadistic bestiality.
In this cave pocked desolation,
Creatured by these genocidal beasts
Systematically cannibalizing their own species,
Carnivores of the basest kind,
He recognizes sinister signs of malignance
Infiltrating the existing order.
He spies a pictograph,
Certainly informed by a higher intellect,
Scraped across the face of a limestone cliff,
Consisting of two intersecting lines,
One end of each thrusting left, the other right:
Not yet assigned its place in the evolution of Man.
Louis Daniel Brodsky
[Collaboration with Sherri Tan]
Book, paper collage, wood, glass, dust, ribbon
7 ½x 22 ¼ x 14 3/8 inches
“Surgical operations were performed at the caprice of Nazi doctors to practise operation technique. Koenig, a young German doctor, selected prisoners with inflammatory processes in the extremities and practised amputation. The German doctors Tillo and Fischer assembled large numbers of prisoners, and with no cause whatever performed hernia operations on them. At the slightest complaint a of a stomach pain, Enders, head doctor of the hospital, practised operating on ulcer of the stomach.
“Experiments on women were conducted in the hospital wards of the Oswiecim camp. Up to 400 women prisoners were confined in the tenth wing of the camp where experiments were carried out on sterilization by X-ray and subsequent removal of ovaries; on transplanting cancer to the cervix of the uterus; on forced childbirth and on testing substances for roentgenography of the uterus.
“Experiments on producing skin injuries with kerosene, various salts, pastes and powders were performed on prisoners by Dr. Emil Koschub. “Wholesale experiments were performed in castrating men with the purpose of studying the possibility of sterilization by X-ray. Not infrequently the operations consisted in removing one or both testicles for study after the person had been X-rayed.
The Black Book
The Pink Triangle
Polymer-fresco painting, wood, nails
34 x 34 x 2 1/4 inches
“I felt I was witnessing the crucifixion of Christ in modern guise. Instead of Roman soldiers, Hitler’s SS thugs, and a bench instead of the cross. The torment of the Savior, however, was scarcely greater than that inflicted on one of his representatives nineteen hundred years later here in Sachsenhausen.”
The Men with the Pink Triangle
‘We must ex terminate these people root and branch. Just think how many children will never be born because of this, and how a people can be broken in nerve and spirit when such a plague gets hold of it. When someone in the Security Services, in the SS, or in the government has homosexual tendencies, he abandons the normal order of things for the perverted world of the homosexual. We can’t permit such danger to the country; the homosexual must be entirely eliminated.”
The Pink Triangle
[Box No. 96]
Wood, nails, glass, eggshells, epoxy, roses
Open: 20 ¼ x 13 x 16 ½ inches
“His wife, who knew also the truth, she said, ‘Get away, jump, you will survive. What is the use of us dying together?’ But he said, ‘No. I will not leave you.”‘
Statement by survivor Szymon Datner recalling the deportation to Treblinka.
Rule of Law
Law books, staples, bobby pins
[Installation view – University of Illinois]
25 X 30 feet
“After years of struggle the new Laws passed by the Reichstag at the Party Congress of Freedom … establish absolutely clear relations between the German nation (Deutschtum) and Jewry. Unmistakably clear expression has been given to the fact that the German people has no objection to the Jew as long as he wishes to be a member of the Jewish people and acts accordingly, but that, on the other hand, he declines to look on the Jew as a national of the German Nation (Volksgenosse) and to accord him the same rights and duties as a German…. Germany has given the Jewish minority the opportunity to live for itself and is offering State protection for this separate life of the Jewish minority.”
[The Gennan Information Agency, published in JR, Sept. 17,1935, front page]
“From then on, the Nuremberg Laws were the primary sanction for further anti-Jewish legislation. Most of the important orders and decrees abrogating the Jews’ civil rights and imposing restrictions on them were issued as Implementation Orders to the Reich Citizenship Law. The overwhelming majority of these decrees were published in 1938, the ‘Fateful Year,’ and the final one came on July 1, 1943, marking the final liquidation of German Jewry.”
“We can therefore conclude that if the law is to be interpreted rightly, the national goal is to be considered without further ceremony a motive for excluding guilt…. Thus the judge who already has the courage freely to interpret the law may now find the right way in the appropriate situation. In this, he also treads old Teutonic paths. As is well known, among our forefathers the inner enemy used to be outlawed and became a man without honor, without right and peace, an outcast. Each folk member could openly slay him so long as he was not at a sanctuary. ‘Infamous is the nation that does not stake everything on its honor.”‘
Trophy Series No. 1: The St. Louis
Wood, oar, brass
closed: 7 x 84 x 12 inches
1995 – 1996
“. . . Although they would not admit it publicly for a week, on this Saturday, June 3  the American government decided that, if the St. Louis passengers were allowed into Cuba, they would be refused entry into America. “The decision to bar the refugees reflected widespread feeling in the United States toward immigrants. By June 1939, with some thirty million unemployed. Opposition came from labour leaders, who claimed that work markets were being depressed by foreigners willing to accept minimum wages. Among the unemployed, as in the rest of the country, there existed a xenophobia which made the United States not so much a melting pot for racial and religious differences but rather a pit for racial and religious antagonisms. On the edge of this caldron perched the 100 per cent American, determined to return the nation to Anglo-Saxon purity. Despite having descended from immigrant stock, they now regard themselves as native Americans, and were determine to exclude anyone of doubtful origin.
“By 1939, the refugees of Europe had fallen into that category. While the average American decried Nazi policies, he was equally opposed to offering its victims a home. For some organizations, like the notorious Ku Klux Klan, which claimed a membership of 4.5 million ‘white, male persons, native-born gentile citizens of the United States of America,’ the European refugee posed a greater threat than the Negro. Imperial Wizard Hiram W. Evans explained: ‘The Negro is not a menace to Americanism in the sense that the Jew or Roman Catholic is a menace.’ Increasingly, those two groups were to bear the brunt of the Klan’s sectarian violence.
“Such demagogues as the radio priest Father Charles Coughlin found willing re-sponse among the millions who saw refugees like those on the St. Louis as a further threat to the “purity” of the United States. “It was against that background that the State Department, itself filled with its share of prejudiced men, decided to exclude the St. Louis passengers. And Franklin Roosevelt, the ‘liberal’ president, but always a president mindful of public opinion, did not overrule that decision.”
Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts
Voyage of the Damned
Summa Theologiae Moralis Volume I: De Principiis Poenis De Sexto
8 1/2 x 6 x 3 1/2 inches
Book, nails, epoxy, steel
” … on orders from the Vatican … The Roman Catholic Church came to terms with [Hitler] in 1933 …. the Centre Party, which was the political face of the church, voted for the Enabling Act which gave Hitler full authority to destroy the German constitution and society. Most of the Roman Catholic bishops then made haste to take back all that they had been saying about the beastliness of the Nazis. Roman Catholic theologians …. [demonstrated] the essential compatibility of Christian and Nazi doctrine, and pulpits …. emitted a new view of the Fuhrer as a man of God. The church so far attuned itself to Nazism as to overlook the concentration camps and endorse Hitler’s foreign policy. When war came the German Roman Catholic clergy broadly supported it and continued to do so in spite of the murder of their Polish colleagues, officially reported, and in spite of Hitler’s unwarranted attacks on small, helpless neutrals [Jews, homosexuals, Gypsies].”
Total War Volume I
Peter Calvocoressi, Guy Wint, and John Pritchard
Summa Theologiae Moralis Volume II: De Praeceptis
8 1/2 x 6 x 3 inches
Book, nails, epoxy, twine
“Yes, I know, my son, all the sufferings of you Jews. I am sorry, truly sorry, about the loss of your family. I suffered a great deal, … knowing about Jewish sufferings, and I tried to do whatever was in my power in order to make your fate easier …. I will pray to God that happiness will return to you, to your people. Tell them this.”
Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
Pius XII and the Holocaust
“Pius Xll …. served as nuncio in Munich and then in Berlin and had other special connections with Germany …. he was also …. the most widely traveled Cardinal in Europe and beyond ever to become Pope. The breath of his experience and intelligence were alike unusual. His opposition to inhumanity and aggression were beyond question …. But he made no public protest against the murders of the Jews, did not use his awful weapon of excommunication against the murderers, refused to speak out against Vichy’s anti-Semitic laws ( even when French Bishops did) and refused to intervene when, in October 1943, the Germans carried off over a thousand Jews from Rome itself to be gassed.”
Total War Volume I
Peter Calvocoressi, Guy Wint, and John Pritchard
Summa Theologiae Moralis Volume III: De Sacrementis
8 1/2 x 7 x 7 1/4 inches
Book. nails, epoxy, wood, c-clamps, quail eggs
Roman Catholic Bishops
“[The] new state [of Croatia], which emerged from the dismemberment of Yugoslavia in 1941, was placed under the rule of Ante Pavelic, an Italian protege since the twenties and a rabid Roman Catholic who was intent on destroying the two million Orthodox Christian Serbs in Croatia and on reviving the temporal sovereignty of the Papacy. Pavelic introduced a religious reign of terror, demanding wholesale conversions to Roman Catholicism, perpetrating atrocities which were ghastly even by the standards of these ghastly years, and encouraging his ustachi bands ( often led by priests) to run amok. Roman Catholic Bishops were appalled by his barbarity but judged it wiser to say little and accept compensation for their injured feelings in redeemed souls and enhanced church property. The Pope himself [Pius XII] said nothing in public.”
Total War Volume I
Peter Calvocoressi, Guy Wint, and John Pritchard
Standard size upright piano
Brass anodized 3/4 inch stub nails
1996 – 2009
“All these people were unaware of the fate awaiting them. They were merely upset at being separated but they did not know that they were going to their death. To render their welcome more pleasant at this time June, July 1944 an orchestra composed of internees all young and pretty girls, dressed in little white blouses and navy blue skirts played, during the selection on the arri-val of the trains, gay tunes such as ‘The Merry Widow’, the ‘Barcarolle’ from The Tales of Hoffmann, etc. They were then informed that this was a labour camp, and since they were not brought into the camp they only saw the small platform surrounded by flowering plants. Naturally, they could not realise what was in store for them.”
Claude Vaillant Couturier, eyewitness
61 1/2 x 80 x 6 inches
Wood, plaster, canvas, glass, brass plates,
epoxy and assorted material
“This same criminal doctor [Mengele] spent long hours beside me, either at his microscopes, his disinfecting ovens and his test tubes or, standing with equal patience near the dissecting table, his smock befouled with blood, his bloody hands examin-ing and experimenting like one possessed. The immediate objective was the increased reproduction of the German race. The final objective was the production of pure Germans in numbers sufficient to replace the Czechs, Hungarians, Poles, all of whom were condemned to be destroyed, but who for the moment were living on those territories declared vital to the Third Reich.
“I began the dissection of one set of twins and recorded each phase of my work. I removed the brain pan. Together with the cerebellum I extracted the brain and examined them. Then followed the opening of the thorax and the removal of the sternum. Next I separated the tongue by means of an incision made be-neath the chin. With the tongue came the esophagus, with the respiratory tracts came both lungs. I washed the organs in order to examine them more thoroughly. The tiniest spot or the sligh-test difference in color could furnish valuable information….I finished the dissection of the little twins and wrote out a regulation report of the dissection. I did my job well and my chief appeared to be satisfied with me….[Mengele stated that] these reports will be forwarded to the Institute of Biological, Racial and Evolutionary Research at Berlin Dahlem.
“Thus I learned that the experiments performed here were checked by the highest medical authorities at one of the most famous scientific institutes in the world.”
Dr. Miklos Nyiszli
Auschwitz: A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account
Wallpiece No. 4
23 x 23 x 4 ½ inches
Fresco painting, nails, wood
“While I was standing at the grave the SS officer with the three stars and stripe was still walking round the grave firing the last shots to finish the people off. When he went away I could still see them moving. That first evening I saw some 162 people being executed in the way I have described. Nine people were shot at a time while a further nine had to wait their turn. They were then led over to the grave. The people who were to be shot walked towards this grave as though they were taking part in a procession. They walked in a line, each person with their hands on the shoulders of the person in front. They went composed and quietly to their deaths. I saw only two women weep the whole time I observed such executions. I found it simply inexplicable.”
Ernest Klee, Willi Dressen, and Volker Riess, editors
The Good Old Days
They all have ears and hear
No longer their own cries.
The prison walls press in, destroy:
No heart, no heart remains to rage!
The soft alarm-clock shrills until it breaks.
Excerpt from “In the Camp”
[Gertrude Kolmar was probably arrested in Berlin on 27 February 1943. She was most likely sent to Auschwitz. The time of her death is unknown.]
The Age of Faith
9 ¼ x 6 ½ x 6 ¾ inches
Book, nails, spike, dried flowers, wax, epoxy
“Religious institutions, business groups, and social organizations scrambled to curry favor with the new regime. Early on, the Vatican, eager to protect its priests and preserve a religious foothold in Germany, recognized the new Nationalist Socialist state. On July 8, 1933, the Vatican signed a concordat with Nazi Germany, which gave the new regime respectability and legitimacy. The German Federation of Judges pledged their allegiance. It was a sad omen of what would be played out again and again throughout the war and across the continent: a general institutional failure to repudiate Hitler’s racist policies. The decision of whether to agree with those policies or to defy them was left to the individual. On the one hand lay authority, safety, and institutional neutrality, if not approval. On the other hand lay human decency. Each person made his or her choice.”
Conscience and Courage
A II B
Train rails, steel, wood, epoxy, nails, plaster, bones
8 ½ x 11 x 8 feet
Four sets of train tracks tie into an oblong steel platform. Together they resemble the form of a cross. At the quincunx, a vertical steel and wood structure rises upward. The interior of this piece reaches down to the platform. At its base is an open grate. Its walls are packed with burned bones held in place by four sets of interior rails. The exterior of the upper portion is covered with nails. Its interior is coated with scarred plaster and stained. There are four spikes which protrude from each of the interior walls of its mid-section.
“We were deported from the Lodz ghetto to Auschwitz in August of 1944. The cattle car was not very full. It was my mother, my older sister, my younger brother and myself. My father was already dead. When we got there, they screamed at us and hit us and used their dogs to get us out of the car. Then they lined us up. Mengele was doing the selections. He walked up and down holding a pencil under his chin. He would look at you then nod the pencil to the right or the left. He looked at my mother and pointed to the left. She knew what was happening and turned to me and said, ‘Leo, I will never see you again.’ Then she went across to the other side. My sister wouldn’t let her go alone and walked across with her. On his way back, Mengele noticed my little brother holding on to me behind my back. I felt a tug. I never saw anything. I never saw my brother again. After three weeks at Auschwitz, I was looking up at the smoke coming from the crematorium. I thought I saw my mother and sister there.”
Statement by Leo Schniderman
Books, wood, glass
11 x 8 x 8 feet
A NATIONWIDE POGROM. Kristallnacht, literally, “Night of Crystal,” is often referred to as the “Night of Broken Glass.” The name refers to the wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms which took place on November 9 and 10, 1938.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
“In spite of all the enforced physical and mental primitiveness of the life in a concentration camp, it was possible for spiritual life to deepen. Sensitive people who were used to a rich intellectual life may have suffered much pain (they were often of a delicate constitution); but the damage to their inner selves was less. They were able to retreat from their terrible surroundings to a life of inner riches and spiritual freedom. Only in this way can one explain the apparent paradox that some prisoners of a. less hardy make-up often seemed to survive camp life better than did those of a robust nature.”
Viktor E. Frankl
Man’s Search for Meaning
“Houses of worship, sacred to others, have been burned down with impunity – men who have locally served our nation and conscientiously done their duty, have been thrown into concentration camps simply because they belong to a different race. Our nation’s infamy is bound to bring about Divine punishment.”
Pastor J. von Jan
[Because of this sermon Pastor Jan’s vicarage was smashed and he was brutally beaten and imprisoned.]
Trophy Series No. 3: Kovno
Wood, velour, leather banded club, brass
Approx 10 in x 72 in x 16 in
Eyewitness account of an Oberst (Colonel)
“….Before the start of the Russian campaign, between 21 June and 1 July 1941, the staff of Army Group North under the command of Field Mar-shal Ritter von Leeb was based at ‘Waldfrieden’, a health resort some 10 km from Insterburg. “As Adjutant (11a) to this staff I received orders to travel to 16th Army HQ, which was stationed in Kovno, and arrange quarters for the staff of the army group liaising with them. I arrived on the morning of 27 June. While I was travelling through the town I went past a petrol station that was surrounded by a dense crowd of people. There was a large number of women in the crowd and they had lifted up their children or stood them on chairs or boxes so that they could see better. At first I thought this must be a victory celebration or some type of sporting event because of the cheering, clapping and laughter that kept breaking out. However, when I inquired what was happening I was told that the ‘Death-dealer of Kovno’ was at work and that this was where collaborators and traitors were finally meted out their rightful punishment! When I stepped closer, however, I be-came witness to probably the most frightful event that I had seen during the course of two world wars.
“On the concrete forecourt of the petrol station a blond man of medium height, aged about twenty-five, stood leaning on a wooden club, resting. The club was as thick as his arm and came up to his chest. At his feet lay about fifteen to twenty dead or dying people. Water flowed continuously from a hose washing blood away into the drainage gully. Just a few steps behind this man some twenty men, guarded by armed civilians, stood waiting for their cruel execution in silent submission. In response to a cursory wave the next man stepped forward silently and was then beaten to death with the wooden club in the most bestial manner, each blow accompanied by enthusiastic shouts from the audience.”
Ernst Klee, Wille Dressen, and Volker Riess, editors
The Good Old Days
[Collaboration with Sherri Tan]
Acrylic polymer on canvas
102 x 189 x 3 inches
Three equal size panels, the first two digitally painted with acrylic polymer on canvas, the third by hand. The painting refers to the “White Rose” resistors And to the individual resistence of Helmuth Hubner. The first two panels have been torn into eleven sections and rearranged out of order. The third panel contains a prose poem which can be read vertically, horizontally, or diagonally and was written by Joe Nicastri and Sherri Tan. The center of the prose poem repeats the actual documentation of the execution of Helmuth Hubner. Hans and Sophie Scholl of the White Rose were also Executed.
[Small flyers produced and circulate by Helmuth Hubner in the summer of 1941.]
Flyers No. 1 and 9: The flyer with the headings “Hitler’s Guilt” and “Hitler Is the Sole Guilty One” contain the allegation that the unrestricted air war against the civilian population was not begun by the British air force but by the Fuhrer.
Flyer No. 2: In the flyer “Hitler, the Murderer!” the Fuhrer is accused of having brought about the death of the military commander in Serbia General von Schr6der.
Flyer No. 3: This flyer bears besides the subversive summons “Down with Hitler … the People’s Seducer, People’s Corrupter, People’s Traitor,” the V symbol recommended by the enemy propaganda at that time as an advertising medium for the victory of the enemy powers.
Flyer No. 4: In the flyer “Who is lying?” it is argued that the reports of the Germany High Command of the military are unbelievable.
Flyer No. 5: In the flyer “One and one half million” it is asserted that thus far one and one half million have been killed in Russia, in addition listening to the London radio station is encouraged, whose times of transmission are given.
Flyers 6 and 7: The flyers “They are not telling you everything” and “13 7th Inf. Div.” contain assertions about alleged heavy losses of individual German units in Russia.
Flyer No. 8: The flyer “Where is Rudolf Hess?” contains inflammatory statements about the flight to England of the former deputy of the Fuhrer.
Blair R. Holmes and Alan F. Keele
When Truth Was Treason: German Youth Against Hitler
Wax, wire, twine, wood
[to be cast in bronze]
15 x 8 ¼ x 8 ½ inches
“But one thing I beg of you;” he continued, “shave daily, if at all possible, even if you have to use a piece of glass to do it … even if you have to give your last piece of bread for it. You will look younger and the scraping will make your cheeks look ruddier. If you want to stay alive, there is only one way: look fit for work. If you even limp, because, let us say, you have a small blister on your heel, and an SS man spots this, he will wave you aside and the next day you are sure to be gassed. Do you know what we mean by a ‘Moslem?’ A man who looks miserable, down and out, sick and emaciated, and who cannot manage hard physical labor any longer . . . that is a ‘Moslem.’ Sooner or later, usually sooner, every ‘Moslem’ goes to the gas chambers. Therefore, remember: shave, stand and walk smartly; then you need not be afraid of gas.”
Viktor E. Frankl
Man’s Search for Meaning
“…..two Jewish prisoner assistants brought a victim into the room (sometimes the victims were brought in two at a time) and positioned him or her on a footstool, usually so the right arm covered the victim’s eyes and the left arm was raised sideways in a horizontal position. Sometimes one’s right hand was at the back of one’s neck, with the left behind the shoulder blade; and some victims were blinded from a towel. The idea was for the victim’s chest to be thrust out so that the cardiac area was max-imally accessible for the lethal injection, and for him or her to be unable to see what was happening. (There is also mention of a position in which the right arm was placed so that the hand was in one’s mouth, not over one’s eyes, so that one stifled one’s own cries.) The person giving the injection–most often the SDG Josef Klehr — filled his syringe from the bottle [of phenol] and then thrust the needle directly into the heart of the seated prisoner and emptied the contents of the syringe. Most prisoners fell dead almost immediately, but some lived for seconds or even minutes . . . . an average of two minutes 22 seconds sufficed to murder one prisoner.”
Statement by Auschwitz Doctor Stanislaw Klodzinski
[Box No. 122]
Wood, nails, steel plaster, violin bow, egg, rust particles, copper
42 x 60 x 30 inches
“. . .the freedom from expressive constraints and the gratification that Germans derived from this freedom were not merely the expression of whatever base impulses that humans may harbor. To be sure, the camp system not only allowed but also promoted the expression of any such tendencies. Yet the Germans’ differing conceptions of the victim groups fundamentally shaped their handling of the inmates, providing the underlying framework for the expression of whatever aggressive and sadistic impulses that they might have had. Not surprisingly, the Germans’ treatment of the inmates of the camp system varied greatly, roughly according in harshness and brutality with the official and unofficial beliefs about the relative worth of different ‘races.’ They treated west Europeans the best, southern Europeans less well, Poles much worse, Russians and other eastern Slavs still worse, and, of the non Jews, Gypsies most murderously.”
Daniel Jonah Goldhagen
Hitler’s Willing Executioners
“One of the most infamous camps was Ravensbruck, the special concentration camp for women, which had inmates from all over Nazi occupied Europe. The Gypsies there were categorized as ‘asocials,’ confined in separate ‘blocs,’ and forced to wear a black triangle. Shortly after their arrival in Ravensbruck, all Gypsy women were sterilized, a policy not uniformly extended to other groups. Given present research data, the total number of Gypsies killed by the Nazi genocidal policy can only be estimated, ranging from a conservative low of 250,000 to a possible high of 500,000, out of an estimated population of 885,000 European Gypsies in 1939. One source claims that 75 percent of Europe’s Gypsies were killed by the Nazis, while others, using much higher prewar European Gypsy population estimates, have claimed that 1 million to 4 million died in the Poéajmos [Gypsy Holocuast]. Simon Wienshave claimed that 1 million to 4 million died in the Poéajmos [Gypsy Holocaust]. Simon Wiesenthal, among others, has stated that up to 80 percent of all Gypsies in Nazi-occupied Europe were exterminated; some scholars feel 70 percent is more accurate.”
The Gypsies of Eastern Europe
David Crowe and John Kolsti, editors
Arbeit Macht Frei
“But it did not occur to us that the poison cup was not yet empty, and that we would have to drain it to the last dregs.”
Yitzhak Zuckerman moved to Palestine from Poland in 1947. He is said to have lived his life “as though the Holocaust never ended.” Unable to discuss his experience except for some small part now and then, he finally dictated his memoirs shortly after the Yorn Kippur War, seven years before his death at the age of sixtyfive. The full title of this book is “A Surplus of Memory: Chronicle of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.” Zuckerman’s judgment of himself and others was harsh: “I would say that I was late, I was late in everything. For we could have done everything a little sooner, a little different … .! can’t blame anybody but myself.”
Contact me to view or inquire about additional items in the Surplus of Memory collection.