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Waldsee 1944

2B Gallery, Budapest

May 1, 2004 through May 31, 2004

 

In May 2004, Alma On Dobbin, NY, with 2B Gallery, Budapest, organized this exhibition of works by Hungarian and international artists at the 2B Gallery as a tribute to the 600,000 Hungarian Jews who perished in World War II. In the Budapest Jewish Museum and Archive are postcards written by deported Hungarian Jews to their relatives. "The deceptive operation continued even in Auschwitz. They gave us a postcard and a pencil," Márton Földi testified. “And they ordered us to write to our families. I wrote to my sister in Budapest. The text was dictated by an SS or a kapo. It went like this: ‘I'm well and I'm working.’ They ordered us to write that we were in Waldsee. This is a resort in Austria. The postcards had no stamps.”

 

“The postcards were taken to the Gestapo, and were forwarded from there,” Freudinger said in his testimony. “I examined one of the postcards and I noticed that its sender wrote Auschwitz in front of the date, but it was erased and Waldsee was written instead of it. I went to Krumey and showed him the card. 'Look, Freudinger, you're a smart man,' he said. 'You don't have to notice everything.' They obviously wanted the Jewish families to receive handwritten, reassuring messages. Afterwards, there were no more ‘Waldsee postcards,’ either. There was no one left to write” (Excerpt from Verdict in Jerusalem, the Eichmann Trial by Gideon Hausner).

 

These postcards are a shocking byproduct of the deportation. Their form is a standard postcard format, with lines for the address on one side and an empty space for the text on the other. Yet their content and circumstances are anything but standard. Adjacent to the body of the postcard, the rules for responding correspondence can be found: "Answer only on a postcard, (maximum 30 words), in German via the Hungarian Jewish Association.. 12 Sip Street, Budapest, VII." 

 

The 2B Foundation invited artists to participate in an exhibition, "WALDSEE 1944," with a postcard-sized work (any medium) that reflected on these events of 60 years ago. The exhibition was shown at venues in Budapest, Berlin, New York, and Ulm, and added new artists at each location. 

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© ALMA 2014