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A MULTI CULTURAL ART PROJECT
SURVIVING . . .


In 1995 after visiting the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. I realized that the series I had painted about the Jewish race was unfinished. Last year I began searching on the Intenet for testimonies and images of the Holocaust survivors. I found this sentence: " I am now standing at the boundary between life and death. I already now for certain that I must die and that is why I want to say farewell to my friends and to my work."It was written by Gela Scksztaj, an artist. She was born in Warsaw in 1907 and murdered in August 1942 in the Treblinka concentration camp. She also said: "Farewell comrades and friends Jews! Do everything that such a tragedy will never be repeated!" Her self portrait was on the screen. When I saw the strong lines of her face,the hard expression of her eyebrows, and the rage in her powerful eyes I felt as if those eyes were staring at future generations, demanding them that her wishes were fulfilled. Her will, along with her watercolors were preserved underground in the Warsaw ghetto.

While reading her words, I thought in the genocide committed by the military dictatorship in Argentina. "Do everything said Gela. "Never Again," are words that every survivor and every family member of a disappeared person in Argentina will untiringly repeat for ever.

Similarities in procedures were found between the genocide committed during the holocaust and that perpetrated by the dictatorship in Argentina, where 30.000 people were killed from 1975 until l983. Like during the holocaust the Argentine population remained in silence while the military government committed all kind of atrocities. After losing everything: their families, their names and their possessions, the gagged and hooded victims were taken to concentration camps, were they endured all types of physical and mental torture before being murdered.

The paintings in my series: "Surviving Genocide" portray the survivor's hopes, but also the disappearances, their destroyed families and the remains of people. The remains of the millions of persons, who were systematically slaughtered by the Nazis, are echoed by those thousands of persons who were assassinated by the military dictatorship in Argentina and other Latin American countries.
Millions, thousands, hundred of death people, of disappeared bodies . . . it sounds as if these figures were cold statistics, but we only need to hear a survivor's account, or to read a testimonial book, or simply to look at a photograph of a innocent child, victim of genocide, to understand profoundly the magnitude of such outrageous crimes against humanity.

As individuals who survived genocides, writers, artists, sensitive human beings, we shall never forgive, we shall never forget. We have to raise our voices in order to alert humanity about what happened not only in Latin America and Europe but also in the rest of the world, for such atrocities never to happen again.

RAQUEL PARTNOY
Washington D.C.

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