TRACES

  • 1-Majdanek
    Site of the gas chambers - Majdanek death camp, Lublin, Poland
  • 2-Majdanek
    Site of the execution pits - Majdanek death camp, Lublin, Poland
  • 3-Majdanek
    Site of the execution pits - Majdanek death camp, Lublin, Poland
  • 4-Auschwitz-Birkenau
    Camp shelter - Auschwitz Birkenau death camp in Oswiecim, Poland -
  • 5-Auschwitz-Birkenau
    Pond containing ashes beside crematorium KR3 - Auschwitz Birkenau death camp in Oswiecim, Poland
  • 6-Auschwitz-Birkenau
    Ruins of crematorium KR3 - Auschwitz Birkenau death camp in Oswiecim, Poland
  • Auschwitz-Birkenau
    Ruins of crematorium KR3 - Auschwitz Birkenau death camp in Oswiecim, Poland
  • Auschwitz-Birkenau
    Pond containing ashes beside crematorium KR2 - Auschwitz Birkenau death camp in Oswiecim, Poland
  • Auschwitz-Birkenau
    Pond containing ashes beside crematorium KR2 - Auschwitz Birkenau death camp in Oswiecim, Poland
  • Bikernieki Forest
    Site of mass graves - Bikernieki Forest near Riga, Latvia
  • Bikernieki Forest
    Site of mass graves - Bikernieki Forest near Riga, Latvia
  • Bikernieki Forest
    Site of mass graves - Bikernieki Forest near Riga, Latvia
  • Bikernieki Forest
    Site of mass graves - Bikernieki Forest near Riga, Latvia
  • Sobibor
    Unloading ramp - Sobibor death camp in Poland, near the Ukranian border
  • Sobibor
    Unloading ramp - Sobibor death camp in Poland, near the Ukranian border
  • Sobibor
    Incineration site - Sobibor death camp in Poland, near the Ukranian border
  • Sobibor
    Site of the gas chambers - Sobibor death camp in Poland, near the Ukranian border
  • Sobibor
    Unloading ramp - Sobibor death camp in Poland, near the Ukranian border
  • Sobibor
    Sobibor death camp in Poland, near the Ukranian border
  • Treblinka
    Treblinka death camp, near Warsaw, Poland
  • Treblinka
    Treblinka death camp, near Warsaw, Poland
  • Treblinka
    Treblinka death camp, near Warsaw, Poland
  • Treblinka
    Treblinka death camp, near Warsaw, Poland
  • Treblinka
    Treblinka death camp, near Warsaw, Poland
  • The Ninth Fort
    Execution site - The Ninth Fort, Kaunas, Lithuania
  • Ponary Forest
    Site of the execution pits - Ponary forest near Vilnius, in Lithuania
  • Ponary Forest
    Site of the execution pits - Ponary forest near Vilnius, in Lithuania
  • Ponary Forest
    Site of the execution pits - Ponary forest near Vilnius, in Lithuania
  • Ponary Forest
    Site of the execution pits - Ponary forest near Vilnius, in Lithuania
  • Rumbula Forest
    Site of mass graves - Rumbula forest near Riga, in Latvia
  • Rumbula Forest
    Site of mass graves - Rumbula forest near Riga, in Latvia
  • Rumbula Forest
    Site of mass graves - Rumbula forest near Riga, in Latvia

TRACES

My grandparents, as well as a large part of my family, were murdered by the Nazi regime in the death camps in Poland and in the forests of the Baltic countries. My father is one of the few survivors.

At the age of six, he was separated from his family and sent to the Westerbork concentration camp in the Netherlands and then to Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia. In 1945 he was included in a prisoner exchange arranged by the Red Cross and then sent to an orphanage in Switzerland. After the war, he went to live with his aunt in Brazil. So I was born in Porto Alegre, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

When I was a child, my father spoke little of this period. Later, upon my insistence, he started to tell me more about his story. Twice we travelled together along the paths of his deportation: in the Netherlands and in the Czech Republic. But he did not wish to come with me to Sobibor, where his parents had died.

I decided to carry on on my own in my search for traces of this past. I discovered the death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau and Sobibor in Poland, where many members of my family were killed. I travelled to other extermination sites: the death camps of Majdanek and Treblinka in Poland, the forests of Bikernieki and Rumbula in Latvia, the forest of Ponary and the Ninth Fort in Lithuania.
In these sites, far from cities and surrounded by forests, sometimes I found buildings and ruins. But often there were no visible traces left, just a forest, a clearing, memorial plates and monuments. I wondered how to portray my grandparents, whom I never met. I found myself in this land trodden by them and by many
others. I walked along the paths they might have walked, I saw the landscapes they might have seen. In these sites, where ashes and blood mixed with the earth, I sensed an invisible dimension. The silent nature brought images and sounds to my mind.

I felt the need to photograph this experience:
To capture absence and memory…

 *

TRACES

Mes grands-parents ainsi qu’une grande partie de ma famille furent assassinés par le régime nazi, dans les camps d’extermination en Pologne et dans les forêts des pays baltes.Mon père compte parmi les seuls rescapés.

A six ans il est séparé des siens et envoyé au camp de Westerbork aux Pays-Bas puis à Theresienstadt en Tchécoslovaquie. En 1945, il fait partie d’un échange de prisonniers négocié par la Croix Rouge puis est placé dans un orphelinat suisse. Après la guerre, il part vivre chez une tante au Brésil. Ainsi je suis né à Porto Alegre dans l’état de Rio Grande do Sul.

Lorsque j’étais enfant, il parlait peu de cette période. Plus tard, devant mon insistance, il a commencé à raconter son histoire. J’ai fait avec lui deux voyages sur le parcours de sa déportation, aux Pays-Bas et en République Tchèque. Mais il n’a pas voulu m’accompagner à Sobibor où sont morts ses parents.

Je décide de poursuivre seul les traces de ce passé. Je découvre en Pologne les camps d’extermination de Sobibor et d’Auschwitz-Birkenau où sont morts de nombreux membres de ma famille. Je voyage vers d’autres lieux: les camps de Majdanek et de Treblinka également en Pologne, les forêts de Bikernieki et de Rumbula en Lettonie, la forêt de Ponary et le Neuvième Fort en Lituanie. Sur ces sites retirés et bordés de forêts, je trouve des bâtiments et des ruines. Souvent il ne reste plus rien, aucun vestige visible, juste une forêt, une clairière, quelques plaques et monuments commémoratifs. Je me demande comment évoquer mes grands-parents que je n’ai jamais connu. Je me retrouve sur ces terres foulées par eux et tant d’autres, je parcours les chemins qu’ils ont parcouru, je vois les paysages qu’ils ont vu. Dans ces lieux, où les cendres et le sang se sont mélangés à la terre, je ressens une dimension invisible. La nature silencieuse me renvoie des images et des sons.

J’éprouve le besoin de photographier cette expérience, l’absence, la mémoire…