Shadows of Past Memory

Holocaust Memorial, Berlin, Germany

Holocaust Memorial, Berlin, Germany

This is the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Germany. It is a wonderful sculptural memorial that is envelopes you as you enter and covers an entire city block.

Earlier in my career I worked as a video producer in Cleveland Ohio. During my time there, I had the privilege of working with the Jewish community on many different projects. One of those projects dealt specifically with the aging Jewish population entering into nursing homes and the affect that the Holocaust had on them. Our video was educational and its purpose was to help their care takers understand the unique characteristics of these residents.  I had sat at the back end of the camera, recording several interviews with Holocaust survivors. They painfully recounted their harrowing ordeals and near death experiences. It was one of my most difficult jobs to capture these tales and remain professional behind the lens. It was horrible and wonderful, horrible to hear what happened and wonderful to see how strong their spirit and dignity are today.

When I came to Berlin and went to this memorial, I was immediately, emotionally moved remembering my earlier work. So I had an idea to set up this shot. I asked my wife and three of my students to pose for me, capturing  just their cast shadows. The cast shadows contrasted the cold, concrete monolithic slabs, as the shadows with their hands by their sides became a monolithic reflection of past memory.

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