25 January 2020 - 08 February 2020
Venue: The Exhibition Room
Holocaust Memorial Day
The 27th January is Holocaust Memorial Day, the day for everyone to remember the millions of people killed in the Holocaust and marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.
HMD 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. This is a significant milestone and is made particularly poignant by dwindling numbers of survivors who are able to share their testimony.
The Kindertransport was a unique humanitarian programme, which ran between November 1938 and September 1939. Approximately 10,000 children, the majority of whom were Jewish, were sent from their homes and families in Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia to Great Britain.
Simon Schachter’s father, Otto, was one of those 10,000 children, and Simon’s artwork explores the places, people and time. His work began as a response to the handful of surviving photos of his Jewish paternal ancestors and previously withheld wartime documentation of their Viennese existence.
He uses photographs as a starting point, although materials often inspire the ideas and determine the final works. They combine images from the time just prior to the start of WW11 and contemporary photography. Many works contain architectural imagery, which explores the addresses of family relatives. The work merges the time of Otto’s childhood with the present day.
“In some sense the works are a personal exploration of a place in which I was not born, did not grow up in, speak the language of or even have good sentiments about due to the ill treatment of family members. There is still an inexplicable attraction to Vienna which may be due to a genealogical connection.
The Holocaust Memorial Day theme “Stand Together” is eternally relevant to the work. If everyone had stood by, Otto would not have made the journey on the Kindertransport – in fact the Kindertransport would not have existed without those who did not “stand by” whilst persecution took place. Some were bravely acting as resisters and rescuers of individuals, and others were taking action against prevailing views and beliefs that saw some people’s lives as worth less than others.” Simon Schachter
“Don’t be content in your life just to do no wrong, be prepared every day to try and do something good” - Sir Nicholas Winton, who rescued 669 children from Nazi-occupied Europe.
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