On this day, May 8, 1945, the Allies declared Victory in Europe Day following the Battle of Berlin and the Nazi unconditional surrender. To commemorate this day, here are two photographs from The Lonka Project collection of Holocaust survivors.
Photographer Andy Anderson poses with Ben Ferencz, who turned 100 on March 20, 2020, during a portrait session in Florida in Ben's home on July 25, 2019. Ferencz was a US soldier who landed in Normandy on D-Day and went on to become a lawyer. He was called back into the army and at age 27 became the Chief Prosecutor for the United States at the Einsatzgruppen Trial, held by the U.S. at Nuremberg, Germany. He is responsible for reparations for hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors.
Abraham Michael Grinzaid, 93, enlisted with the Red Army in 1943 when he was 17. ‘I joined the Red Army to take revenge. My father was killed by the Germans, my relatives were in the ghettos and sent to their death. I was alone and my only desire was to avenge my family death,’ he said. ‘I appeal to the Jewish people, don't forget it. A million and a half Jews fought against the Nazis.’ He earned five medals for bravery in battles across Europe. Photographed in Rehovot, Israel by Kobi Wolf / The Lonka Project, 2019
We are very saddened to hear from the photographer on April 26, 2020 that Henri Kichka passed away in Brussels from complications of Coronavirus.
Henri Kichka was born in 1926 in Brussels, Belgium. His parents came from Poland. In May 1940, the family was stunned by the Nazi invasion of Belgium but Josek, Henri’s father, had no illusions about the fate awaiting the Jews. In the first week of September 1942, they were taken from their Brussels home as the Nazi soldiers sealed off the street in the middle of the night and went from building to building forcing all Jews from their homes. The family was herded into cattle wagons in a railway transport heading east first to Germany and then to Nazi occupied Poland. Henri and his father Josek were taken off the train with the other men in the small town of Kosel. They were to work in slave labour for the Third Reich. Henri’s mother, Chana, his sisters Bertha and Nicha and his Aunt Esther, were shipped to Auschwitz and upon arrival they were gassed. Henri ends up imprisoned in ten concentration camps: Camp d’Agde, Camp de Rivesaltes, Sakrau, Klein Mangersdorf, Tarnowitz-Nord, Sankt Annaberg, Kattowiz-Schoppinitz, Blechhammer, Gross-Rosen, and Buchenwald. On January 21, 1945, with the advance of the Red Army, they were forced on a death march with some 5000 prisoners – only 750 survived. Henri was liberated from Buchenwald on April 11, 1945, but his father had died a few days before the camp's liberation by the 6th Armoured Division of the US army. Three days later Henri turned 19. Henri returned alone to Brussels, and succeeded to rebuild his life. On April 25th 2020, Michel Kichka announced his father’s death, “A small microscopic Coronavirus has succeeded where the whole Nazi army had failed.’
Photo © Pascaline Lefin / The Lonka Project, 2019
REGARDS magazine pays tribute to Henri Kichka on their cover with Pascaline Lefin's portrait. May5, 2020 issue.
Thank you PHOTO IS:RAEL for hosting a Zoom video chat conference on The Lonka Project on Yom HaShoah, April 21, 2020, which was very well attended. Eyal Landesman was master-of-ceremonies and Israeli photographers Nati Shohat, Kobi Wolf, Nadav Neuhaus living in New Jersey and Oded Wagenstein (see picture below) took part in answering some questions, as well as Max Hirshfeld in Washington DC who also chimed in with some personal accounts of making his portrait in New York City of Holocaust survivor/architect Stephen B. Jacobs.
Thanks to Inbal Feller for organizing the conference.
For those interested It is available for viewing on YouTube at
Oded Wagenstein photographed Holocaust survivor Zeni Rosenstein was she marks a two-minute silence as a siren wails in Tel Aviv marking Yom HaShoah, Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, on April 21, 2020. Keeping with strict" social distancing and isolation" measure in effect due to the Coronoavirus, the portrait session took place on Zenio's terrace outside her apartment.
Yom HaShoah April 20 - 21, 2020
The experience of lockdown and social distancing due to the fast-spreading Coronavirus is affecting people differently. For Holocaust survivors, the growing isolation triggers painful wartime memories when the life they knew came to a sudden halt and the outdoors became life-threatening.
Rabbi Moshe Stern during morning prayers inside his home in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, April 19, 2020.
Rabbi Stern was born in Hungary in 1922. He is known for saving hundreds of lives during Nazi Germany’s invasion to Hungary in 1944 when he derailed one of the last trains en route to Auschwitz death camp. Rabbi Stern, pretending to be a railway worker, stopped the train from continuing to its final destination by derailing the trucks with other underground members. The train came to a stop and most onboard managed to escape. The 97-year-old resident of the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, and a devotee of Toldot Aharon, was involved in clandestine operations on behalf of the Jewish Agency during the Holocaust of Hungary Jewry.
Photo © Chaim Goldberg / The Lonka Project, 2020
The Lonka Project wishes everyone health and the very best for the upcoming holidays.
April 11, 1945, Israel Meir Lau was 8-years-old when he was photographed leaving Buchenwald concentration camp after its liberation by 6th Armored Division, United States Army...
75 years later Rabbi Lau will observe Passover Seder with social distancing and isolation from his many family members, like so many other Holocaust survivors.
The rabbi says, “This year the night of Passover will be different. This time I will not talk to people, but about history.”
Jim Hollander / The Lonka Projhect
In Times of Coronavirus
Corona closures and isolation are becoming part of our daily life and undoubtedly will save lives.
The Lonka Project collaborated with journalist Iris Klieger, daughter of the late Noah Klieger, a survivor of the Holocaust. The article was published in Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel's leading daily newspaper, on March 24, 2020.
"They are 80+, some are over 100, and now they are spending their time in isolation, away from their family members. But these Holocaust survivors have a lot to teach the younger generations about resilience and hope."
Photographic portraits from The Lonka Project, from left to right:
Yosef Dekel, age 105
"I keep telling my children to keep away and stay home, don’t come to visit. Period. I'm fine. Until this is over, I keep in touch with both Skype and Zoom.
Rivka Helfand, age 94
"Life taught me to be iron strong. When you ask me if I'm afraid of the corona, you are actually asking me gently if I'm afraid of dying. So my answer is no, I'm not afraid of death! I've met him too many times face to face. Presently I think only positive thinking."
Dov Landau, age 92
“This you call suffering?" asks Dov Landau. "Staying at home with food?! There's TV, a computer, a phone and you even have those movies, what do you call it - Netflix? So what on earth is your problem to stay home and guard yourself and your family!!! Learn from someone who survived the worse in extermination camps, without food, no family left, for months and months...... this period will pass and we will come out reinforced and united.“
Judith Barnea & Lia Hoover, age 82
" We're always together, but for the first time we must be separated.”
The sisters are optimistic, but in the Corona crisis there are factors that bring them back to the trauma.
"I've been through much harder things. If you have food, even just bread, stay home and remember that when you stay home - you keep us alive."
Moshe Barth, age 94
"I won - I have three sons, 13 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren. I consider myself a Winner. I survived Auschwitz, we will survive the Corona too."
We have changed this heading to "Press & Notices" to make certain announcements, as they come up. With the advent of the Coronavirus affecting most of the world we are placing the most recent press clipping at the top of the page. If other Corona stories come in relating to the virus pandemic we shall place that high up as well.
Otherwise, the most recent item is placed at the bottom of this page, so please scroll down.
We hope everyone stays safe and healthy in these difficult times worldwide.
Inaugural Exhibition at the United Nations
The Lonja Project will be inaugurated on January 27, 2020 at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Here is the UN page link. One can register for the reception to be held on January 28th at 3 PM for free entry.
Portraits of 14 Holocaust survivors made in the Europa Café in Los Angeles photographed by Ethan Pines (USA)
The Lonka Project will have a multi-media screening on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, 2020 in the Yad Mordechai Museum, Israel.
Entrance is free and the program begins at 6 PM.
A screening was also held in the Willy-Brandt Haus, Berlin, Germany on the same night.
Dorothy Bohm with her Rolleiflex camera in London photographed by Marrisa Roth (USA)
An article in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth with the headline "Let The World Never Forget" dealing with The Lonka Project exhibition in the United Nations.
Left: Fannie Ben-Ami was photographed in Jerusalem by Alex Kolomoisky (Israel)
Center: Marie Nahmias was photographed in Ramat HaSharon by Shaul Golan (Israel)
Right: Moshe Haelyon was photographed in Tel Aviv by Avigail Uzi (Israel)
Published January 15, 2020
Feature article published in Israel HaYom Magazine
Friday, January 17, 2020
Written by Hanan Greenwood.
Left - Gideon Markowicz (Israel) photographed Motek Mordechai Szymonowicz in Petah Tikva, Israel.
Right - Miri Tzachi photographed Jim and Rina at home in Beit Zayit, Israel.
Left - Yechiel Hakoen (Israel) photographed Dov Landau in Benei Brak, Israel.
Center - Tomasz Lazar (Poland) photographed Madeleine Kahn in Saint-Paul de Vence, France.
Right, top - Andy Anderson (USA) photographed Ben Ferencz in Delray Beach, Florida, USA.
Right, below - Ohad Zwigenberg (Israel) photographed Lia Huber and her twin sister, Judith Barnea (R) in Ra'anana, Israel.
Photographer Andy Anderson had a nice article titled 'Photographers Capture the Present, Preserving History' about his photo session with Ben Ferencz.
Published in PhotoPolitic, early December 2109.
A partial screengrab from Ai-AP about The Lonka Project inauguration in the United Nations headquarters in New York City.
To read the story, please copy & paste the link below in white.
I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.
Four Auschwitz survivors photographed in Tel Aviv by Ziv Koren (Israel)
Nat Shaffir, a marathon runner who scaled Mount Kilimanjaro photographed in Washington DC by Dave Burnett (USA)D
Auschwitz survivor Rachel Gottlieb photographed in Staten Island, NY, USA by Shira Stoll (USA)
Not in the clip:
Rene Slotkin memorabilia photographed in New York City by Ron Haviv (USA)
Copy and paste in browser the URL above (in white)
Feature story in The Guardian, UK
'A terrible past': photography project captures last Holocaust survivors.
by Oliver Holmes
Photo credits include:
Judith with Eliran Keren (L) visits the Mediterranean Sea at Kibbutz Magen Michael, Israel photographed by Jim Hollander (USA)
Not visible here, but in the story:
Four Auschwitz survivors photographed in Tel Aviv by Ziv Koren (Israel)
Marion Bazmen photographed in Tel Aviv with her granddaughter by Tomer Neuberg (Israel)
Eva Schloss, a child hood friend of Anne frank, photographed in London by Stuart Franklin (UK)
Ben Ferencz of the Nuremberg Trials photographed in Delray Beach, Florida by Andy Anderson (USA)
Motek Mordechai Szymonowicz tells his story of survival for the first time to family members in Petah Tikva, Israel photographed by Gideon Markowicz (Israel) (Israel)y Beach, Florida by Andy Anderson (USA)
The Royal Photographic Society magazine, February 2020
Nat Shaffir photographed in Washington DC by Dave Burnett (USA)
Double page. Top Left:
Mordechai Perlov photographed in Johannesburg, South Africa by Roger Ballen (USA)
Right, clockwise from top:
Four Auschwitz survivors in Tel Aviv photographed by Ziv Koren (Israel)
Joe Alexander photographed in Los Angeles by Davis Factor (USA)
Motke Blum photographed in Jerusalem by Hadas Porush (Israel)
Dorothy Bohm (with Rolleiflex camera) photographed in London by Marissa Roth (USA)
Dr. Eleonora 'Lonka' Nass with her husband Dr. Jerzy Nass from the family album.
Leica Fotografie International, Germany
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Taub photographed in Jerusalem by Abir Sultan (Israel)
Danilo Nikolic photographed in Sarajevo by Armin Smailovic (Bosnia)
Franz Michalski photographed in Hamburg by Maurice Weiss (Germany)
Mordechai Perlov photographed in Johannesburg, South Africa by Roger Ballen (USA)
Ha'aretz Magazine, Israel - January 27, 2020 Marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day
by Dina Kraft
Lead photograph of Agnes Keleti, 99 years old, in Budapest, photographed for The Lonka Project by Bear Bar Kallos (Israel, Hungary)
Additional Photographs in the article:
Nat Shaffir was photographed in Washington DC by Dave Burnett (USA)
Renata Laxova with her dog Breenie were photographed in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, by Mike Nelson (USA)
Ralph Hakman was photographed in Los Angeles by Barbara Davidson (Canada)
Ruby Sosnowicz was photographed in Boca Raton, Florida by Mauricio Candela (USA)
Halina Birenbaum and her son Yakov Gilad were photographed in Tel Aviv by Vardi Kahana (Israel)
David Marks was photographed in Sherman, Connecticut, USA by Howard Schatz (USA)
Prof. Renata Reisfeld was photographed in Jerusalem by Debbie Hill (USA)
Gerda Weissmann Klein was photographed in Phoenix, Arizona, USA by Patrick Zachmann (France)
Article by Jessica Steinberg Published January 27, 2020
Judith Rosenberg, 96, photographed in Glasgow, Scotland by Judah Passow (UK)
Others on the website:
Four Auschwitz survivors in Tel Aviv by Ziv Koren (Israel)
Gabriel Moked photographed in Tel Aviv by Eyal Warshavsky (Israel)
Madeleine Kahn photographed in Saint-Paul de Vence, France by Tomasz Lazar.
Photograph by Anna-Patricia Kahn.
Ginette Kolinka photographed in Paris by Jane Evelyn Atwood (USA)
Moshe Avital photographed in New Rochelle, New York by Ed Kashi (USA)
Lia Huber and Judith Barnea photographed in Ra'anana, Israel by Ohad Zwigenberg (Israel)
Yossi Weiss photographed in Haifa harbor, Israel by Eldad Rafaeli (Israel)
The Lonka Project coverage by epa (European Pressphoto Agency) of the reception in the United Nations and the multi-media event in Yad Mordechai, Israel.
Both events mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day & the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
New York City UN photos by Peter Foley Yad Mordechai photos by Abir Sultan
Huge thanks to Randy Cole Represents in New York City for all the support and all the remarkable photographers who joined the project. You all went to extraordinary lengths to make memorable portraits that will enlighten and educate for years to come.
Spacial thanks to Evi Ginzburg who worked with Ethan Pines and the 14 survivors in the Europa Café in Los Angeles
In the Swiss magazine
Israel Zwischenzeilen online.
(see link above in white)
Featuring a photograph of Alex Gross with family members in Florida photographed by Lauren Koplowitz (USA)
Additional photographs in the story:
Gerda Weissmann Klein photographed in Phoenix, Arizona by Patrick Zachmann (France)
Ida Iosifovna Spector photographed in Moscow by James Hill (UK, France)
David Marks photographed in Sherman, Connecticut by Howard Schatz (USA)
Article in The Jerusalem Post January 5, 2020 about the exhibition in the United Nations in New York City.
See link above, in white.
ZEIT ONLINE Feb. 27, 2020
17 Photographs, as follows:
1. Roger Ballen (USA, South Africa) photographed Mordechai Perlov in Johannesburg.
2. Steve McCurry (USA) photographed Sonia Kam and sister Hannie Dauman in New York City.
3. Eyal Warshavsky (Israel) photographed Gabriel Moked in Tel Aviv.
4. Davis Factor (USA) photographed Joe Alexander in the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.
5. Tomasz Lazar (Poland) photographed Madeleine Kahn in Saint-Paul de Vence, France.
6. Maurice Weiss (German) photographed Franz Michalski in Berlin.
7. Jim Hollander (USA) photographed Judith in Kibbutz Magen Michaeil, Israel.
8. Abir Sultan (Israel) photographed Rabbi Menachem Mendel Taub in Jerusalem.
9. Jane Evelyn Atwood (USA, France) Photographed Ginette Kolinka in Paris.
10. Andy Anderson (USA) photographed Ben Ferencz in Delray Beach, Florida.
11. Marissa Roth (USA) photographed Dorothy Bohm in London.
12. Gilles Peress (France) photographed Ryszard Horowitz in New York City.
13. Moti Milrod (Israel) photographed Eliezer and Rachel Greenfeld in Holon, Israel.
14. Ed Kashi (USA) photographed Moshe Avital in New Rochelle, New York.
15. Eldad Rafaeli (Israel) photographed Yossi Weiss in Haifa, Israel.
16. Armin Smailovic (Bosnia) photographed Danilo Nikolić in Sarajevo.
17. Peter Turnley (USA, France) photographed Perhia in Paris.
A translation of the article:
Some have dedicated their lives to the work of the Holocaust, others could not speak for 40 years. The Lonka Project portrayed survivors.
By 2019, around 250 photographers from 26 countries have joined forces to search for the latest Holocaust survivors in their own countries. They have people photographed where they feel they belong, and tell them how they have lived and passed on.
Alas for the Lonka Project, it is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The project was initiated by Jim Hollander and Rina Castelnuovo in Jerusalem. The Lonka Project does not, however, tell only about the survivors of the German concentration camps, but also to the Soviet Gulags. The idea was disseminated from photographer to photographer, on a voluntary basis. Maurice Weiss, one of the respected German photographers, says, "By this, the images could be so human, beautiful and surprisingly different."
Dear Rina and Jim,
I had a very emotional shoot yesterday. In working through the weeks and process of setting up this portrait session I had not given much thought to what to expect emotionally when talking and spending time with our subject. I have traveled the world and photographed children in Africa for Operation Smile, Ethiopian Jews being resettled in Israel for Hadassah, teens in NYC for Avenues for Justice for over 20 yrs. but never a 94-year-old in Brooklyn who still lives his past like it is today. It was a rewarding two hours spent with an amazing survivor and example of the unsung heroes of the Holocaust. Shmuel is open and willing to share his experiences which are horrendous. He lives them every day without the ability to block them out. I did not expect that. He is a kind person who has raised a family of four children and now many grandchildren but he is not able to share his happiness and that was what affected me more than anything. My drive home and last evening I relived our conversations. I am intrigued by what others have encountered and felt as they processed the photo sessions. Shmuel is angry at the world and especially the Jews for not teaching the next generations about these atrocities that he experienced. It took him decades before he was able to share his experiences but I don’t think it has been a healing, more of a cause, and at 94 he doesn’t have the same energy to share his story. I am grateful for his two hours and cherish my time.b
From photographer Marty Umans who photographed Holocaust survivor Samuel Beller, age 94, in his home in, New York. March 14, 2020
We are sad to announce a Facebook post from photographer Shira Stoll informing of the passing of Rachel Gottlieb, born in 1924 in Romania, who lived in Staten Island, New York. Rachel survived the Auschwitz death camp as number 7564 and spent, and also the Bergen-Belsen camp and a Death march. “Miracles,” she told me. “Everybody from the Holocaust they’re here because big miracles,” recounts Shira in her post, quoting Rachel.
One final note - Rachel had a motto. She would always say “Who came back from the Holocaust can give you a blessing: Be well and live long.”
MISCAR - Remember Issue #64
Center Organization of Holocaust Survivors in Israel
75th Anniversary of Auschwitz Liberation
Received from Colette Avital March 26, 2020
Left: Dr. Renata Laxova photographed by Michal Nelson in Madison, WI, USA.
Right: David Marks photographed by Howard Schatz in Sherman, CN, USA.
Bottom: Nat Shaffir photographed by Dave Burnett in Washington DC, USA.
Left: Lia Hoover & her twin sister, Judith Barnea photographed by Ohad Zwigenberg in Ra'anana, Israel.
Right: Ralph Hakman photographed by Barbara Davidson in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Bottom: Ruby Sosnowicz photographed by Mauricio Candela in Boca Ration, FL, USA.
Very sad to report that Horace Hecht, born in1922 in Berlin, passed away several weeks after he and his wife Mildred posed for portraits for The Lona Project. In 1943, the Nazis shipped him off to Auschwitz with his family where his wife, his parents, three sisters and four-year-old nephew were murdered.
Photographed by Cindy Karp in Miami, Florida, March 1, 2020.
We are very sad to announce the death of Ralph Hakman who had just turned 95 shortly before his death from Coronavirus complications in Los Angeles on March 22, 2020.
The fifth of 10 children, Ralph Hakman was born March 11, 1925, in Radom, Poland. Ralph was captured and shipped to Auschwitz at age 17 and several days later was sent to the Birkenau concentration camp where he survived for three years. He regularly observed Nazi SS troops putting Zyklon B crystal pellets into two crematoriums. Hakman managed to flee a Death March. He was spotted by a Russian soldier on May 7, 1945, who informed him the war was over. He returned to Radom and learned his parents and every sibling but one - an older sister who fled to Russia - was killed. Ralph Hakman was a speaker at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust where he gave monthly talks on his experiences. “It’s my responsibility to share what happened.”
Photographed by Barbara Davidson for The Lonka Project. August 21, 2019.
Just noticed this mention from The Magnum Digest: February 14, 2020
The Lonka project is saddened to report the death of Eliezer Greenfeld, born in 1925 in Lodz, Poland. Seen here with his wife Rachel. This news is especially hard as Israel commemorates Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom HaShoah, which begins at sundown tomorrow, April 20, 2020.
Eliezer's father was among the first victims to be executed on the main street in Lodz. Eliezer and his mother were taken into the ghetto. Nazis declared a curfew and began the deportation of all Jews to the extermination camps. Men and women were separated. ‘I thought I will never see my mother again'. Eliezer was taken to a forced labor camp. ‘I weighed 40 pounds then, and when I put sacks on my back I fell. I fled with few prisoners to the forest.’ They hid until the roaring Russian tanks approached. War was over. Eliezer returned to Lodz. ‘On the steps of the house my mother was waiting for me, we both survived.’ Eliezer and Rachel met in Lodz and are among the first couple of survivors to marry.
His wife Rachel was also born in Lodz, in 1926. She was 13 when the Nazis invaded Poland. In Ghetto Lodz, Jews were rounded up 'Then they got us in the train cars to Auschwitz. We were sorted into men and women and since then I have never seen my father and brother again. Mum and I stood together, and I was holding her so tight but the Nazi separated us, and I haven't seen her since. I had nothing to live for.’ In Auschwitz one night Rachel ran away from her block to another. 'The next day they sent all my block to death. A few days later the gas ran out. We were sent to a labor camp in Germany. I will never forget the day when the French came into the camp and shouted, "The war is over, you are free."’ Rachel returned to Lodz to look for relatives. 'I was left alone’.
Eliezer and Rachel met in Lodz and are among the first couple of survivors to marry. They immigrated to Israel in 1956.
Photo © Moti Milrod / The Lonka Project, 2019
Story on The Lonka Project just out in Amateur Photographer in the UK, April 2020 by Peter Dench
To view and read the PDF, click on the icon below please
The article, appropriately titled The Power of Living, even more so in these difficult, on-going times of the Coronavirus affecting so much of the world these past months.
Photo credits - top to bottom & left to right:
Agnes Keleti in Budapest - Photo © Bea Bar Kallos / The Lonka Project, 2019
Jim Hollander hangs the United Nations inaugural exhibit in NYC - Photo © Enrique Shore / The Lonka Project, 2020
Four Auschwitz survivors in Tel Aviv - Photo © Ziv Koren / The Lonka Project, 2019
Eva Schloss on 90th birthday in London - Photo © Stuart Franklin / The Lonka Project, 2019
Adam Han-Górski works out at home in Plymouth, Minnesota, USA - Photo © Alec Soth / The Lonka Project, 2020
Moshe Avital among his many books at home in New Rochelle, New York, USA - Photo © Ed Kashi / The Lonka Project, 2019
Dorothy Bohm with her Rolleiflex at home in London - Photo © Marissa Roth / The Lonka Project, 2019
Filmmaker Roman Polanski on the streets in Nice, France - Photo © Franck Leclerc / The Lonka Project, 2019
Many thanks to both Holocaust survivors and photographers for contributing to this educational and artistic collection. STAY SAFE BE WELL
The Lonka Project is saddened to report the death of Esther (Stenia) Mannheim, born in Krakow, Poland in 1924.
Esther (Stenia) Mannheim was born in Krakow in 1924. When the Nazis captured Krakow, she was no longer allowed to attend school and had to wear the ‘yellow star’ while cleaning the streets of Krakow. Then came the ghetto in Krakow, but the family felt lucky for being able to stay together; Esther (Stenia), her parents, sister, and grandparents. During her life in the ghetto Esther had to work in a factory, and one day, ‘I waited for my mother to come and pick me up from work, but she didn't arrive. I never said goodbye to my mother and I never saw her again.’ Esther learned her mother was deported to a death camp. Then the grandparents passed away and Esther’s father was sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp. Esther and her sister were sent to four different camps before Auschwitz where she remembers the smell and the smoke from the bodies that were burned. ‘They tattooed us with a number and soon after they put us on a death train. A German asked if there were any sick people. We said no. They took all the sick people on the wagon and killed them on the way’. In 1944, when the Nazis wanted to eradicate the camp, Esther and her sister were forced on a death march to Malkov. They were starving and thirsty, but Esther and her sister survived. American soldiers arrived and released them. Esther and her sister returned to Krakow looking for surviving relatives and there in the synagogue, Esther received news that her father was alive and in Israel. Soon after Esther and her sister reunited with their father in Israel.
Photo © Oded Balilty / The Lonka Project, 2019. In Esther's apartment Tel Aviv, Israel.
Published in Tachles, Switzerland June 4, 2020
So That the World Never Forgets
Auschwitz survivor Eva Schloss shows a picture. Another Ryszard Horowitz, who was one of the youngest on Schindler's list. Another was athlete Shaul Paul Ladany, who survived the hostage-taking at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Four Auschwitz survivors, photographed by Ziv Koren in Tel Aviv. Judith Rosenberg in Glasgow. Nat Shaffir in Washington, DC, in front of Dave Burnett's camera. Rachel Gottlieb, photographed in Staten Island by Shira Stoll. Benjamin Ferencz, the last chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg trials - on March 11, Ferencz celebrates his 100th birthday. And Anna-Patricia Kahn captures the moment of personal importance when Tomasz Lazar photographs her mother Madeleine Kahn in St. Paul de Vence. Impressive, extremely moving portraits.
The photos are part of “The Lonka Project": beginning in February 2019, around 250 photographers in 26 countries set out to visit the last Holocaust survivors, put them in the picture and thus put a memorial to them. For some photographers, the project was also an exploration of their own origins as descendants of Holocaust survivors. The elderly were photographed where they feel they belong. The result is a unique series of portrait studies that show faces in which the story appears to be engraved. In addition, a collection of life stories of the portrayed: They tell how they survived and lived on. Some have dedicated their lives to this narrative, others have been unable to speak about it for decades. The Lonka project not only resulted in a remarkable international photographic co-production, one of the largest ever realized but also a unique documentary that will soon no longer be possible: capture the present to capture history. A tribute in pictures. Worldwide for future generations.
The search for other survivors to be portrayed and whose history is to be preserved continues. Among the camera artists who visited survivors around the world for The Lonka Project include, among others, Alain Keler, Patrick Zachmann, Roger Ballen, Mario Tedeschi, Armin Smailovic, Peter and David Turnley, Thomas Dworzak, Eli Reed, Stuart Franklin, Maciek Nabrdalik, Steve McCurry, Abir Sultan, Heidi Levine, Peter Dejong, Corinna Kern, Greg Williams, Tomasz Lazar, Franck Leclerc, and many others - some, such as Patrick Zachmann, are managed by the Clair Gallery directed by Anna-Patricia Kahn represented who supports and supports the project. The project was presented on January 27 as part of a first exhibition at the UN headquarters in New York, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2020, the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Another exhibition and multimedia presentation took place on the same day in the Israeli museum in Yad Mordechai. A presentation was also held in Berlin, where a video with the first 95 pictures of The Lonka Project was shown. As international as the photographers and the places where the portrayed people live and where the pictures were taken are scattered across the continents, they should be seen and received in such a global way. Because the challenge of remembering the Holocaust is growing. New waves of anti-Semitism, coupled with the fading knowledge of recent history and the gradual disappearance of contemporary witnesses, require new forms of narration to be remembered. The Lonka Artistic Educational Project can help preserve memories for future generations when no survivor can bear witness.
Photo: Moti Milrod (Israel) photographed Eliezer and Rachel Greenfeld in their Holon apartment in Israel on December 20, 2019.
The Lonka Project is saddened to report the passing of Joseph Ganz, born in Hungary in 1920. Photographed by their daughter at their home on April 26, 2020.
Joseph Ganz was born in Hungary in 1920. In 1944 Joseph was sent to a forced labor camp. He escaped, was caught and his life was spared by a Hungarian Colonel, Imre Reviczky, from deportation to the Auschwitz death camp. Joseph was liberated by the Red Army, but his family perished. Joseph married Bina, a survivor of Auschwitz, and tried to immigrate to Mandatory Palestine in 1947. Their ship “Pan Crescent” was stopped by British soldiers at sea. All the refugees on board threw their documents into the sea and were deported to a camp in Cyprus. They reached Israel in 1949. Joseph and his wife Bina were farmers in Moshav Kfar Pines.
Photo © Sara Gold / The Lonka Project, 2020
The Lonka Project is saddened to report the passing of Rabbi Moshe Stern, born in Hungary in 1922. He is photographed in his home at prayers during the Coronavirus pandemic lock-down in Jerusalem on April 19, 2020.
Rabbi Moshe Stern was born in Hungary in 1922. He is known for saving hundreds of lives during Nazi Germany’s invasion of Hungary in 1944 when he derailed one of the last trains en route to the Auschwitz death camp. Rabbi Stern, pretending to be a railway worker, stopped the train from continuing to its final destination and, with other underground members, was able to derail the wagons. The train came to a stop and most onboard managed to escape. The 97-year-old resident of the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, and a devotee of Toldot Aharon, was involved in clandestine operations on behalf of the Jewish Agency during the Holocaust of Hungary Jewry. He passed away on July 18, 2020.
Photo © Chaim Goldberg / The Lonka Project, 2020
We are saddened to report the passing away of Eftychia Battinou Ezra, born in 1924. She participated in The Lonka Project in her home in Athens, Greece, and was photographed by Artemis Alcalay.
Eftychia Battinou Ezra was born in 1924 to Romaniote Jews, Behorakis & Stamoula Battinou, in Ioannina, Greece. Eftychia was the youngest of six brothers and sisters. On March 25, 1944, she was arrested with her parents and three sisters, their husbands and two children, on Greek Independence Day. At the time, her brothers were in Athens and Egypt and succeeded in escaping arrest and expulsion. Eftychia was transported to Larissa, one of the starting points for deportations to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in 1944. In Auschwitz II-Birkenau she worked in the Kartoffelbunker (potatoes storage). She was also forced into Block 10 where mostly women were subjected to Nazi medical experiments. In January 1945, as the Germans began to retreat, Eftychia was one of 60,000 prisoners who were forced on a Death March. She was liberated from Bergen-Belsen by the British army in April 1945. Eftychia returned to Greece, the only one of her family to survive the camps. Both her parents, her three sisters with their husbands and two children, all perished.
Photo © Artemis Alcalay / the Lonka Project, 2019