By Arutz Sheva—
“Shining Souls,” Champions of Humanity Fine Arts Photography exhibition, works by Dr. Inna Rogatchi, will be inaugurated on January 24 at The European Parliament as part of the commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2017 there. The European Premiere of this project is in memory of Elie Wiesel, a dear friend of Dr. Rogatchi.
Rogatchi, co-founder of the Rogatchi Foundation, is an internationally acclaimed and prolific writer, Holocaust historian, chronicler of the evils of communist Russia, talented fine arts photographer, film-maker who has chosen to have many of her written and photographed works appear on Arutz Sheva. In her work, she focuses on the inter-weaving of history, culture and mentality, covering a wide range of subjects, including political and modern history, international affairs, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, international terrorism and security, culture development and human behaviour.
The exhibition, its opening event and the ensuing discussion are hosted by MEP Dr Hannu Takkula, Finland, ALDE, and MEP Bas Belder, the Netherlands, ECR.
Consisting of 30 works, the collection is built as sets of pairs of portraits, each pair featuring Jewish and non-Jewish heroes, accompanied by mini-essays, selected portraits and biographical notes of the outstanding humanists of the XX and XXI centuries, many of whom Dr Rogatchi knew personally. It is a comprehensive tribute to these courageous and compassionate people whose destinies were marked by the Second World War and Holocaust, both as the victims of the Shoah and as compassionate saviours.
Among the champions of humanity featured are Raoul Wallenberg, Consul Sukihara, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Simon Wiesenthal, Felix Nussbaum, Primo Levi and many others.
The works in the collection represent citizens of 15 countries: Austria, Sweden, Germany, Poland, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Romania, Lithuania, Vatican, Switzerland, Norway, USA, Israel and Japan. The art works, photographed between 2007-2016, are of a wide geographical range, from the Lithuanian forest to the Potomac shore in Washington DC. The art brochure on the series includes Beauty of Memory Foreword by the Austrian Ambassador to Finland Dr Elisabeth Kehrer, as well as Inna Rogatchi’s A View From A Cattle Wagon essay.
Champions of Humanity is a touring project. Among other places, it will be shown in the autumn 2017 at the Abo Academy in Turku, Finland, as a special project at the Kristallnacht commemoration symposium and event.
Below is a selection of photographs from the exhibition, sent to Arutz Sheva by Dr. Rogatchi with her descriptions below them, to be matched looking at the photographs from first to last:
1 LIVING THROUGH. Homage to VIKTOR FRANKL. 2013.
Austrian psychiatrist and writer Viktor Frankl was the person whose narrative on the Holocaust has become, in my opinion, the most honest and deep one. He understood what the Shoah had done to the human psyche down to the smallest detail. It was a chilling account, a report from Hell itself. But it was due to Frankl’s own outstanding, shining humanity that he was able to share with mankind not only the horror of that dehumanization, but also to enlighten us on a human soul’s ability to resist evil in action. Doctor Frankl’s own soul was the one of the very rare Shining Souls in the history of mankind. His legacy is the one of the few indisputable beacons of light for all of us.
2 THINKING OF RAOUL
For some reason, I never could relate to Raoul Wallenberg as to a person from my grandfather’s generation. I always felt him my contemporary, when I was twenty or now, decades later. All my life since I learned about that remarkable man, I feel about him as about a dear friend. It is because one’s dear friend does not age. Raoul’s soul was the soul of the mission. Seeing evil’s face, Raoul was not afraid of it. And he was destined to see the faces of two evils in his time. I ask myself: what Raoul was thinking about when the captive of the Kremlin?.. I believe, he was thinking of his family, and also of all those thousands of people whom he saved. And he smiled.
3 SIMON’S ROSE.
Architect Simon Wiesenthal lost 89 members of his family in the Holocaust. At the end of the Second World War, Simon devoted all his blessed long life to one sole purpose: not to let our memories become obscurity. Hundreds of people approached him, thousands would write him asking about members of their exterminated families, appealing to him to find the Nazi criminals who commited so many unspeakable crimes. Architect, Engineer Simon Wiesenthal could not return to his practice. He could not sleep either. He took the pain of all those people to his heart and his superb mind. In what he did in his fight against the legacy of Nazism, he has become the one of the most prolific heroes of human history. And his lessons are acutely timely today. The rose is from his desk, the wall is from the Warsaw where his wife Cyla hid during the war.
4 AGAINST THE WIND.
Homage to CARL LUTZ. 2013. Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz invented a way to save many thousands of human lives at the dire period from 1942 onward when the destiny of massive numbers of Hungarian Jewry was sealed in what has become known as the one of the most dramatic episodes of the horrible ‘routine’ of the most inhuman war in history. Consul Lutz saved over 60 000 human lives, the record for a saving operation of this kind in the history of WWII. As with all the heroic diplomats who actively saved Jewish people from the Nazis, Carl Lutz was not saluted for his bravery and humanism at home at the end of the war. We all really are in a huge debt to Carl Lutz and his brave, modest colleagues who, fighting evil against all odds, preserved the decency of human beings in the world attacked by the forces of darkness.
“In her approach, Dr Rogatchi’s trademark combines historic research with beautiful art creating this new important project. Poignancy embedded in beauty is characteristic of all her work, always dedicated to the principle of ‘Never Forget'” – HE Ambassador Dr Elisabeth Kehrer.
“Seeing Inna’s works, I think of the flaring ashes of those millions of human beings who were assassinated in gas chambers. With her great heart and all her talent, Inna portrays various projections of the power of that fire, the power of those flames, but she also portrays the power of the trees, symbols of life. Her photography is both passionate and enlightening. In her works, Inna Rogatchi reminds us about the echo of Holocaust in a tangible way. We also salute her intention to remember the army of the Righteous Among the Nations, all those people who rose up against the barbarism of Nazism.” MIchael de Saint Cheron, philosopher, writer, life-long friend and colleague of Elie Wiesel, author of seven books on Elie Wiesel.