Missing Fate - Auschwitz Walls, exhibition in Budapest

Opening: 2B Gallery, Budapest, May 2nd, 6pm
Discussion "Holocaust, remembrance, art": Goethe Institute. Budapest, May 3rd, 6pm

The Walls of Auschwitz
László Rajk’s exhibition
"Although there are no graves at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the death camp is nevertheless
one of the largest cemeteries in Hungarian history. There are no graves or epitaphs,
though during the single year of 1944 several hundred thousand Hungarian Jews were
deported there to be murdered. A few of them – those who were bolder? more
desperate? more persistent? those who still had some hope? – left imprints of their
existence. We do not know how much time they spent doing this, but with meticulous
care – in sunshine? in rain? in mud? in wind? – with a small nail? with a hairpin? with
their own nails? with a scrap of metal? with a shard of glass? with a stone? – as a
message? as a plea? as a prayer? as a stele? – they carved their names into the
"Wailing Wall" of the camp, the bricks and plaster of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Writing in
the wall. Name, city, date, sometimes profession, occasionally prisoner number.
Writing in the wall. The engraved names are themselves gaps in the wall. A missing
continuity; missing fate.
I encountered these names for the first time in 2004. I’ve been looking for them ever
since, on the exterior and interior walls of the barracks, the one-time "sauna", the
kitchens, the attics, the chimney pillars, the latrines. There are many of them.
A missing continuity; missing fate. All I could draw was the gaps, what is missing.
This is how I commemorate them."
László Rajk

(Special thanks to the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim, especially to Tereza
Zrbzeska, Mirosław Obstarczyk, Anna Renn and Teresa Szabó.)

The work – 11 wall sections created with the frottage technique – commemorates those who engraved their names into the bricks and plaster of the camp.