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Gerhard Richter’s Birkenau: Holocaust Photography Displaced and Displayed 

The Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre, Huddersfield, UK
Dr Dominic Williams
17 November 2021   

The photographs taken by a member of the Auschwitz Sonderkommando around Crematorium V in the summer of 1944 are some of the most important images from the Holocaust. In this talk, Dr Williams consider one major recent response to these photographs by the painter Gerhard Richter: the series Birkenau (2014). He will discuss the paintings themselves, created by reproducing and then overpainting the photographs on four large canvases. He will also situate them in the context of their showings, especially their installation (in digital reproduction) in the entrance hall of the Reichstag building in Berlin.

 

Dr Dominic Williams is a Senior Lecturer in the Humanities at Northumbria University. Having taught at Leeds, Reading, York St John and Southampton universities, Dominic’s work is interdisciplinary and often collaborative. His most recent book on the Sonderkommando (published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2019) considered post-war witness borne by survivors of Sonderkommando in trials, memoirs, video interviews and films.

 

The event takes place on the online platform Zoom