6 Million Individuals - Painting Context - By Eliza (Year 12)
My painting states, ‘6 MILLION INDIVIDUALS’. Within the 6, I have painted various Jewish victims of the Holocaust, to really show how each of the 6 million were their own person. I thought perhaps this small visualisation of different people would stress their individuality.
I feel it is only right to start off by explaining what the Holocaust, by definition, means: the murder of approximately six million Jewish men, women and children by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during the Second World War. However, I have come to understand that it is so much more than this; it is the humanisation of the individual lives that were torn apart, the 6 million lives that were all distinct and separate from one another. Each victim different, each victim single, each victim unlike another.
This very humanisation is what I found myself trying to stress within this painting, as the main cruel aim of places like Auschwitz-Birkenau was to strip the Jewish of their individual identity. Everything that happened at Auschwitz was done to reduce prisoners to nothing. This intense sense of dehumanisation that we can gain from the Holocaust is exactly why I believe, and that I wanted to display within this painting, is that sometimes simply citing statistics can be damaging.
Through just telling people the cold hard facts of the Holocaust, it almost doesn’t allow for true remembrance of what happened. Statistics are impersonal; behind the huge number of 6 million who perished are individuals who lived a different life across Europe. If we focus only on figures, we lose that sense of identity for the Jewish people which I feel is so important.
We are part of one of the last generation who have the privilege of listening to first-hand survivors share their stories. Through this, it ensures that future generations who don’t have this privilege will still know the truth of what happened. It matters now, today in our society, as if the Holocaust were forgotten, it would diminish the severity of what occurred.