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Exhibitions: Holocaust Survivors, Photographed by 250 Photographers, for "Lonka Project"

By David Schonauer   Thursday January 23, 2020


“It was daunting.”

So says photographer Jim Hollander, speaking about the Lonka Project.

Hollander, who has lived and worked in Israel for four decades — he served as chief photographer in the region for Reuters — conceived of the project along with Rina Castelnuovo, an Israeli photographer and filmmaker who began her career working for Associated Press. And daunting it was: “Our idea was to get 250 professional photographers in 24 countries around the world to donate their time and talent throughout 2019, with each photographing one portrait of a remaining Holocaust survivor or a group of survivors still among us,” says Hollander.

“We live in a time when the challenge of Holocaust remembrance grows in difficulty,” Hollander noted in a statement about the project that he sent to PPD last November. “The new waves of anti-Semitism coupled with studies pointing to a lack of knowledge about the Holocaust across an entire new generation attest to the urgent need for material to illustrate and to educate about that darkest period of modern history.”

Now the project has been completed as a traveling exhibition that will debut on January 27 at the United Nations in New York, as part of the UN’s 2020 Holocaust Remembrance event. This year's remembrance marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the ending of the Second World War, and the ending of the Holocaust.

The event includes the exhibition “Seeing Auschwitz,” a display of photographs taken by Nazi perpetrators that, as the UN notes, “encourages the viewer to explore more fully” what the images reveal about the photographers, and their intentions, and how this informs the viewers’ understanding of the meaning of "Auschwitz.”

By David Burnett

By Shira Stoll

By Ron Haviv


Among the photographers who contributed to the Lonka Project: Carol Guzy, Micha Bar-Am, David Turnley, Ethan Pines, Paolo Pellegrin, Dana Goldstein, Gilles Peress, Beverly Ornstein, Yunghi Kim, Allan Tannenbaum, David Burnett, Shira Stoll, Alfred Yaghobzadeh, Steve McCurry, Ziv Koren, Ron Haviv, James Hill, Lori Grinker, Davis Factor, and David Wells.

Hollander hopes to have a book version of the exhibition published this year.

“The uniqueness of this special presentation is in bringing together from all corners of the world not only different styles of photography by different artists, but also by the goals of each artist in approaching their subjects,” notes the project’s website. “Each brings his or her personal response to survivors in their diverse interpretation and the documentation approach.”
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At top: By Ziv Koren

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