The “SHADOW OF WAR” Exhibition

About a year ago I landed in Berlin and started to work on the so called “German Project” that later was named “Shadow Of War: German Memories Of WWII”. On Tuesday the 23rd of November was the opening of the “SHADOW OF WAR” exhibition here at the German House in New York. It was a great success. The estimated number of visitors was somewhere between 50-100.

It was the biggest project I’ve ever worked on. 24 prints at a size of 16×24, 23 interviews that were up to 3 hours long that had to be cut to five minuet versions, then they had to be transcribed in German, be translated into English, be transcribed again then recorded and then be sandwiched with the German Version.

Before the toughest thing I had ever done in my life was to sail across the Atlantic but that has changed this year.

The last two weeks before the show were really rough. I was working 18 hour days to make the impossible possible and I did even though only in the last minuet and by completely exhausting myself. I hope to find a way to be a little bit easier on me in the future.

I gave all I had emotionally, physically and financially to make this project the best I could. But at the end what was that compared to the tremendous amount of suffering the people I photographed and interviewed had to live through to tell the stories that made this project so possible.

I want to thank all of them for their willingness to share these stories and to let me use them for this exhibition. My hope is that future generations will learn from it and will make sure that something like WWII will never happen again.

In the last couple of days I was often thinking about one of the men I interviewed, Walter Ruge who turned 95 this year. He told me that there is the saying in Russia, “It is better to have 100 very good friends then 100 Rubles.”

I might not have 100 good friends but the ones I do have are amazing and there would have been no way for me to complete t this project without them.

I want to thank my spiritual teacher Michael Rosker for his help and encouragement over the last 10 years. Without him I would not have had the self confidence and emotional strength to complete this project. This is particularly interesting with this project since both of Michael’s parents are Holocaust survivors.

I want to thank my friend Gunner for letting me stay in his apartment in Berlin, my friend Marco who borrowed me his camera to shoot the project, listened patiently to me ranting and complaining about the workload and helped me frame the prints, hang the show and upload the interviews to MP3 players. My lovely roommate Nieves and her friend Iker for helping me framing the prints, driving me and the prints to the venue and helping me to get the MP3 player ready.

My friend Lucy who spent countless hours (about an hour per interview) to put my English translation into how she would say “Real English”. My friend Toni Dolce who did a great job with the female sound overs and sandwiched the english translation together with the original German recording and my friend Montse for helping with the MP3 players on the day of the show when the stress level was almost unbearable.

A big thank you also to Dr. Klaus Riemer who is one of the interviewees. After I told him about the show he wrote me an e-mail asking me if I would know a cheap hotel for him to stay since he was planing to come to the opening. On 11/22 he touched down at Kennedy Airport flying in from Berlin. He stayed with me and my roommates for three days and of course came to the opening. Dr. Klaus Riemer is 79 years old.

Thanks to all of you for your love, help and support! I love you guys! 🙂

“The SHADDOW OF WAR Exhibition” Exhibition Invitation/Wolf Rothe photographed in Berlin Jan 2010


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