Foto Friday – Never Forget
Keeping The Memory Alive (Children in the Holocaust) is a poster contest being mounted across the world to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is today (Friday).
An international panel of distinguished judges, comprising experts in both design and in Holocaust Education, selected the 16 best posters from more than 300 submitted by design students from France, Israel and the Czech Republic. They were asked to present works on the theme of Holocaust commemoration, with an emphasis on the nature of memory and the plight of children.
The three finalists designed posters that stood out for their originality, beauty, and meaning.
The work by Veronica Novakova, a designer from the Czech Republic, portrays a well-known childhood punishment. “Traditionally, to correct a child’s errant behavior, an adult will force the ‘naughty’ child to write his misdeed over and over again, until he ‘learns his lesson.’ In this case, the misdeed is written by a child who is forced to denounce his friendship with a Jewish friend.
Designer Martina Cejpova also explores the effect the Nazi anti-Jewish policy had on children. “In her poster, she depicts a universally-recognized image from childhood: a hopscotch board, chalked onto the pavement. This particular game, however, is marred by a hateful symbol of discrimination drawn onto its cross-arms – the yellow star. Its inclusion here indicates that the insidious and pervasive hatred perpetrated by the adult world has also filtered down to the world of children, destroying their innocence.”
French designer Boris Grzeszcak deals with another theme in his work – the nature of memory. “His black-and-white poster presents a striking image of a scarred tree cut to expose the rings. A deep gash cuts to the very core of the trunk, where the word “emet” (truth) is written in tiny letters… [The artist says,] ‘The truth resides in the act of remembering and above all, never forgetting these dramatic events.’”
Peter Chmela of the Czech Republic says, “This poster wants to show the impotence of Jewish children against the Nazi soldiers. I tried to illustrate this theme with a big contrast between soldier and child.”
Yael Boverman, Israel: “The object that a survivor carries throughout a lifetime enables him or her to keep their memory alive. The closet symbolizes a collective closet, reflecting the repressed memories of the Jewish people as a whole. For every survivor, the memory is forever present under the thin veil of everyday functioning, represented by the new shirts, but at the bottom of the stack, there always lies the shirt kept from a different time – the persisting memory of a past that refuses to be abandoned.”
The project is funded by the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF), together with Yad Vashem, Israel; Mémorial de la Shoah, France; and the European Shoah Legacy Institute, Czech Republic; in cooperation with the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme.
In addition to the posters, there is also a lesson plan that provides tools to aid students and teachers in discussing the more universal aspects of memory — as well as the challenges facing those who use the visual arts to commemorate the Holocaust today.