75 faces, 75 years on

Martin Schoeller gives the Holocaust a face. In a new exhibition he presents portraits of 75 survivors. These are their stories.

75 Holocaust survivors – in portraits by the photographer Martin Schoeller.
75 Holocaust survivors – in portraits by the photographer Martin Schoeller. Martin Schoeller

“It is our duty to tell our stories time and time again”, says Naftali Fürst. The 88-year-old survived Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Entitled “Survivors – Faces of Life after the Holocaust”, the new exhibition at the UNESCO world heritage site Zollverein Coal Mine in Essen tells his story, among others. The internationally renowned photographer Martin Schoeller from Munich visited 75 of the last surviving witnesses of the Holocaust in Israel and took impressive portrait photographs of them.

“Meeting and spending time with these men and women, who told me stories that I had previously encountered only in the history books of my childhood, touched me extremely deeply and changed me”, explains Schoeller in a statement. This was without doubt the experience of his professional career that most preoccupied and enriched him emotionally, he adds. “To hear these stories of such unbelievable endurance and to see how these survivors preach tolerance and understanding gives one the feeling that human kindness will prevail”, says the photographer.

A joint project of the Foundation for Art and Culture Bonn and the Israeli Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center, the exhibition came about as the result of an initiative of the German association Friends of Yad Vashem. It continues until 26 April 2020.