Welcome to the opening …
The message of this exhibition isn’t just to remember but to commit to memory that the perished were individuals.
Each child had a name and family name. Each child then became a number, and each child ended up in a crematorium.
It is important to know that these are just a fragment of one and a half million murdered children. These are the ones we know about, because they were recorded and photographed when they entered the camps. What they couldn’t know at the time, as they looked into the camera, was the horrible truth that that was an official photograph for a passport to death.
As you all know, I was lucky to have survived – while these children did not. Perhaps, in some archive, there is a similar picture of me. Just as somewhere in Auschwitz there is my suitcase, which I brought with me from Čakovec. When I arrived in Auschwitz, for a long time I didn’t know why I was there … and when they moved me from camp to camp I could never know where I was.
Like these children, all I knew was that they came for me, took me away, recorded me, that I became an enemy, through no fault of mine.
As long as these photographs exist, as tonight we look in the depths of these children’s eyes, they exist. And so, even though they are dead, while this exhibition lasts, they are alive. They are among us as a reminder of the past, as restless ghosts whose message is to never forget that they existed and then vanished. And that their short, sad lives, have been forever made eternal.
Remember as you watch them, these were and remain someone’s enemy … and they were someone’s children.