Jasmine Fruit


Photography, video

Jasmine Fruit

Past: May 3 → June 21, 2014

Family photos, video and still photographs. Efrat Shvily, 2012

The video is screened next to two black and white still photographs of my great grandfather Moritz Blonsky, the first taken before World War II and the second in 1941, 12 days before he was murdered in Auschwitz. The striking difference between the two portraits is the blind spot of the entire process of the de-humanization of the Jews under the Nazi regime: the denial of rights, separation from family, arrest, humiliation, starvation and torture.

The video was filmed in a family gathering at the house of my aunt Edna. Edna is telling the relatives the story of her grandfather whose fate she has discovered only last year, after years of investigation and search. Moritz Blonsky was among the first Jews who were transported to Auschwitz in 1941, before it became an extermination camp. At the time the Nazis still took care to photograph the newly arrived inmates. The relatives listen to the story and look at the photographs. Moshe, the grandson named after Moritz and most resembling him, is absorbed in the photos and does not speak.

Open, Closed, Open

“Open, Closed, Open” is a DVD work about the change and transition of memory from first-generation Holocaust survivors to the second and third generations. As Holocaust survivors are aging and dying, the memory of the Holocaust takes on a different form, which this work attempts to shed light on.

Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai wrote: “Open, closed, open. Forgotten, remembered, forgotten” suggesting that in the process of preserving it, memory may change form, and even get lost. Paradoxically, Amichai writes, memory is sometimes best preserved in forgetfulness. The protagonists" of Amichai’s poem “And Who Will Remember Those Who Remember” are the people who devote their lives to remembering others, and do little, which they themselves could eventually be remembered for. Unlike the jasmine flowers, they are the “jasmine fruit” no one ever heard of. The “jasmine fruit” are the protagonists of this work, the anonymous people who read out the names of the Holocaust victims, but have no name of their own.

“Open, Closed, Open” was filmed during the 2005 “Every Person Has A Name” memorial ceremony for the Holocaust victims, at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, on Holocaust memorial day. In the ceremony people stand in line before they go up to the podium to mention the names of their family members who perished in the Holocaust, or to read out the names of Holocaust victims to whom they are not related. In the latter case, they receive printed lists of names from Yad Vashem.

  • Opening Saturday, May 3, 2014 4 PM → 8:30 PM
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The artist

  • Efrat Shvily