Impossible to Forget
Photographs by Michael Kenna.
Nazraeli Press, Tucson, 2001. 128 pp., 105 duotone illustrations, 10x12".
"Michael Kenna photographed Nazi concentration and extermination camps from 1988 to 2000, subsequently donating all negatives, prints and their respective rights to the French Government and the Caen Memorial. Kenna first visited the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp in France in 1986. Two years later he returned, still marked by the initial emotional impact, no doubt the key to his decision to develop a project about the Holocaust. Since then, he has repeatedly returned to Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen, Lublin-Majdanek, Ravensbruck, Buchenwald and many other camps to photograph their restless emptiness. Overwhelmed by the abomination of the gas chambers and by the inexpressible suffering of the victims, Kenna wanted to share a memory that he found impossible to forget. Knowing that a work of art can be an invitation to meditation, he went to the concentration camps to photograph what they had become: sites of contemplation. The photographs in 'Impossible to Forget' are directly opposed to the evil that continues to live in the camps, to nihilism and to revisionism; they are bearers of peace and compassion."-the publisher.