Shoah: Contemporary Images of the Holocaust

Welcome to Day 3 of our 10-day Conflict Memory & Education programme.

I hosted an online discussion with Julian Harrison focusing on his website Shoah: Contemporary Images of the Holocaustand how these images can help us start conversations with young people. The need to keep this shocking chapter of the 20th century in the public eye seems to be even more important at the start of 2021.

I wanted to find out more from Julian about his motivation for creating the website and how he set about choosing the images used. He has amassed a vast image archive from many research visits over the years especially for his book, Suspended Disbelief: Reflections on the Holocaust published in 2016.

Next Wednesday (27th January) is Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK. Those wishing to find out more (especially those home educating in this pandemic) will find The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has an extensive Resources area on its website, as does the Holocaust Educational Trust.

As the founder of the Documentary Media Centre, I wanted to establish a Conflict Reportage Archive that went beyond the normal conventions of what it should contain and how it uses its resources. I try to identify and collect media that will fit an exhibit that takes participants on a deeper journey, not just the facts and figures of a particular event. Using the documentary media resources – film, photography, audio, and new media – available to the Conflict Reportage Archive, we build exhibits that use items to aid connection. From clothing to personal letters, detailed maps to magazine articles, the aim is to build on the awareness of ‘what’ happened and include ‘why’ it happened. What were the conditions that led to the event. Moving beyond merely facts and figures into a meaningful conversation following the testimony of those that were there at the time or on-the-ground in the subsequent period.

As discussed with Artist, Robert McNeil (in the interview on Friday 22nd January) it is often the items that people are not expecting to see such as artwork, animations, or contemporary photographs that aid the deeper conversation around these events. Therefore, Julian’s images are an important resource for both the Conflict Reportage Archive and those seeking additional ways of engaging an audience in meaningful discussion around the dangers of ignoring the ever-present signs of hate, that if left unchallenged can have devastating consequences for all.

“The inspiration behind ‘Shoah: Contemporary Images of the Holocaust’ was personal recollections and visits to Jewish and Holocaust sites in Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, the Czech Republic, France, Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland over the course of many years. Together these images of here and now tell the story of what happened in the Shoah.” JH (November 2020)

The interview is now available to view through the Conflict Reportage Archive Facebook Page – click here

A selection of 15 images was made by Julian for today’s online discussion:

In the recorded discussion Julian mention’s The Topography of Terror exhibition in Berlin – click here for details

I mention a documentary film by Joshua Oppenheimer called The Act of Killingclick here for details

This is the book written by Julian about his personal reflections of the Holocaust while researching his family history – Suspended Disbelief

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