Auschwitz Now  26 January until 31 May 2010

Three generations later

Auschwitz Now. Three generations laterOn 28 October 1944, David Eduard Belinfante (born in The Hague in 1875) and Judith Belinfante-Mendes da Costa (born in Amsterdam in 1881) were sent on the very last transport from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz. Eduard died in transit, and his wife Judith was killed in the gas chambers of Auschwitz on 30 October 1944.

Sixty-five years after the liberation of Auschwitz, their granddaughter Judith C. E. Belinfante (1943, former director Jewish Historical Museum) and their great-grandson Alexander David Jansen (1977) made the same journey in honour of their murdered forebears, the victims no one had ever been allowed to mention. By breaking the silence, they restored Eduard and Judith to their rightful place in the family's history. In words and photographs, Judith and Alexander sketched their personal confrontation with the past and present. The story of their journey is dedicated to August David (Guus) Belinfante (The Hague, 1911 - Amsterdam, 2000), Judith's father and Alexander's grandfather. Auschwitz now. Three generations later will be shown in the Hollandse Schouwburg from 26 January until 31 May 2010.

Judith's poignant writings deal with the victims and the traces that remind us of their presence. For instance, in Tallit (prayer shawl), Judith writes about prayer shawls taken along by deportees who considered them their most precious possessions. These prayer shawls remain not only as symbols of the life of which they once were part, but also as compelling reminders of those who are absent, those who were murdered. Alexander David's photographs, in contrast, suggest emotional distance, showing us a 'guilty landscape' that has absorbed the memory of the past.

As a final tribute to the murdered family, Judith and Alexander buried pebbles that they had brought from home, one in Theresienstadt and another in Auschwitz. In the Netherlands, they repeated this ritual at the grave of Guus Belinfante with a pebble from the extermination camp, thus reuniting their family.

Auschwitz now is a gripping personal statement about coming to grips with the Shoah, by a mother and son who each confronted the past in their own way.

Watch the presentation Auschwiz now. Three generations later here.