On the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, an exhibition of works by Austrian painter and photographer Manfred Bockelmann, dedicated to children and young people.
The exhibition, entitled "Drawing Against Oblivion", features portraits of 60 children killed in Nazi death camps, mostly Auschwitz, and it is part of the events marking the 10th anniversary of the Festival of Tolerance - Jewish Film Festival Zagreb.
"The message of the exhibition is not only that we should recall, but that we should remember that the victims were individuals, every child had its name, and then it became a number and ended up in the crematorium," said JFF president Branko Lustig, announcing the opening of the exhibition.
"It is important to know that they were just a part of the 1.5 million children killed. At the moment when they were looking at the camera they could not have known that it was their official photograph for a passport to death," said Lustig, who as an 11-year-old was taken to a concentration camp.
Lustig said there was a reason why the exhibition was being staged at the French Pavilion - that building was the location from where Zagreb Jews were taken to concetration camps such as Jadovno, Jasenovac and Danica, at a time when there was an inscription above the entrance to the pavilion reading "Egalite, Fraternite, Liberte".
The portraits to be put on display were made based on photographs of children taken by the Gestapo, the SS and doctors after the children were deported to hospitals and camps. The author of the exhibition found them in the camps' files, primarily Auschwitz.
The exhibition was organised by the Zagreb Student Centre and the Austrian Cultural Forum in Zagreb. It was co-financed with funds from the European Union and it will be held under the auspices of Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic.
Its official opening is scheduled for Wednesday.