A reflective Post this evening, makes a welcome change and good or bad I can guarantee my blog will never be one theme, I’ve enjoyed writing this 🙂 .
I look at Czesława Kwoka’s Auschwitz registration photograph time and time again, her haunting expression isn’t unique, the many other prisoner photos being colourised so magnificently are equally as haunting and devoid of ALL human emotion.
I look at her, and I wish I could do this post justice, convey how I’ve been feeling whilst reading her true horror story. However I fear I don’t have the breadth of descriptive language and yes I think I lack an ability to convey the upsetting emotions I’m feeling…………. I’ll write you humorous posts all day long of tales sleeping with women BUT serious issues I struggle with and that makes me very angry. And for once I break copyrighted photographs legally, Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum don’t mind, I’d guess the reason is because we should never forget man will imprison the innocent, is capable of murder and when you have the sick enigma of concentration camp deniers, you have to allow the photos to be used for good kind and appropriate reasons, then hopefully we never forget.
Several years ago I saw a British TV documentary challenging Holocaust deniers, the truly scary part was these deluded people with an agenda appeared to be like you and I? Like I said scary and truly frightening not knowing one could be a work colleague.
You may be thinking Andrew why are you beating yourself up over this, not many people read you and if you don’t enjoy writing this post don’t! I’d answer lol I know, secondly this Blog is for me to read and yes I’ll enjoy the creative process of at least trying to.
I guess an answer would be, several days ago journalists released photos of children separated from their parents caged behind steel fencing AND under bright spotlights 24hrs a day 😮 ! Yes Trump says he’ll backtrack on this problem he created but it’s so so easy for lessons from the past to be forgotten, Czesława died behind Auschwitz fencing 1943 by phenol lethal injection into her heart, she was age 17, her mother had been murdered one month earlier.
🙂 I’m not comparing Trump to Nazism, steel wire fencing seemed to fit that’s all.
The first time I came across ‘Faces of Auschwitz’ was recently in my Reader, are they personalised posts or does everyone. Briefly for I’m not going to repeat, this project is a collaboration between the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, an amazing digital colourist Marina Amaral all with the one aim of preserving 38,000 photos from over 1,000,000 innocent prisoners who died. A team of academics, journalists and volunteers created ‘Faces of Auschwitz’ to honour the lives of Auschwitz-Birkenau prisoners, and colourising their registration photos truly brings their individual stories to life.
My parents many years ago visited Auschwitz whilst holidaying in Eastern Europe and my father at the time being a secondary school history teacher, you can imagine this horrific example of the awful depravity human beings are capable of affected him, to torture and murder another human being with a total absence of conscience is hard to accept. That there appeared to be no collective conscience to me is worrying for all our futures………………. mankind is truly a dangerous and complex living breathing animal how did we reach a point in time where murdering a child was accepted.
Czesława 26947 looking tired malnourished and resigned to her lot, yet her eyes are alive and revealing, a very different stare in each photo! If she’d lived in London 2018 she’d be a student or a happy face waitressing in a restaurant, serving in a bar or whatever…………….. The life we live is purely an accident of birth and nothing to do with Gods.
Why have I chosen Czesława registration photograph above all others? On reflection I’ve chosen her above many others because of her eyes in the centre face on picture, she’s not looking at the camera though at first glance I thought so simply because all others are!
Those eyes tell me Czesława is looking at SOMEONE and she’s wary anxious, that person’s in authority and to be listened to! I’d guess that someone is in charge of this sick registration, a catalogue of 1,000,000 faces soon to die. She has the gaze not of a victim (and time and time again I keep looking at her photo my brain stumbling around for words to describe how I feel) Czesława’s eyes neither hide fear distress or foreboding which on reflection most other prisoners don’t either so I guess they’re resigned to life inside a death camp, the young lady understands yet she cannot comprehend why these people think they are human.
My guess only, my best attempt at describing this wonderful photo, but her eyes speak more than I can put down in text and skilful colourising has transformed an already haunting photo…………….. don’t you agree?
I’ll never be able to answer who she’s looking at, and I’d guess not the photographer! This is pre digital, the camera’s mechanical, the photographer is finger on trigger looking through the lens, no I have the overpowering feeling this young lady is highly intelligent, understands exactly what an SS Officer is instructing her to do, she’s looking at authority following order’s with an anxious concentration. Hmm I’ve tried my best, Czesława’s haunting eyes are directly looking at someone yet devoid of revealing all but a knowing concentration that’s how I emotionally react to this picture, a stunning image for many reasons not least Marina Amaral is a truly gifted digital colourist, apparently crowned ‘the master of photo colourisation’ by WIRED Magazine and she’s truly done the prisoners justice.
She also has a book out.
I’ll finish this post telling you what little is known of Czesława . She was born in Wólka Złojecka Poland, on August 15, 1928 and born a Roman Catholic obviously her mother Katarzyna’s faith, I’d forgotten Jews weren’t the only people to be murdered in Auschwitz. Czesława and her mother were arrested as political prisoners in the town of Zamość, located in Nazi-occupied Poland on December 13, 1942. It was then during processing by KL Auschwitz’s Nazi SS administrators, Czesława and Katarzyna were assigned prisoner numbers 26947 and 26946, respectively. I guess we count ourselves lucky 38,000 remain because all the rest were burnt by the fleeing guards.
Both died behind a fence in Auschwitz!
‘Faked news’, I’ll say nothing of President Trump because my own Country’s politicians equally excel at feeding the public lies, jeeze they’ve ALL got their f#cking Twitter feeds! But ‘faked news’ is far from amusing I have little people for relatives, I asked one to give me her views of what fake news meant because believe it or not at school she’s actually taught in class the tricks to spotting fake news! Don’t you think that’s so terribly sad? The internet was supposed to be this great exchange of ideas for the betterment of mankind instead it’s a conduit for supplying pornography, laundering money and turning true stories into lies then regurgitating and altering into fake news for political agenda! So very sad if the true story of Birkenau Auschwitz, man’s ability to murder is changed and edited in such a way that future children believe it never happened.
©A. Shepherdson 2018, and note ALL my own work.