A Groninger photographer started the project to make sure that every victim gains representation
The opening of the new ‘Every name counts’ exhibition at the Groningen Synagogue was on Sunday, with photographer Robert Mulder saying that “this is when names take on faces.” The exhibition shows at first only temporarily – photos and panels with information about Jewish residents of the Herewegbuurt. The unique thing about the exhibition – which will be added to and will be on display for longer in the Synagogue next May 2022 – is that it was put together with the cooperation of residents of Groningen.
They had responded to a call from Robert Mulder to help collect as much personal information as possible about residents of the Herewegbuurt murdered during the war, reports the GIC.
“Every name counts” is about much more than a name. The people who provided data tried to find out as much as possible about the life histories of the individuals.
“Look: we know that more than three thousand Jewish residents in Groningen were deported and murdered. But that’s just a number. We would like to show that these were all Groningers like you and me, with their own problems, ideals, careers or loves. The essence of the project “Every name counts” is that we want to bring these murdered people back from anonymity. We bring names and people back and bring them home again,” said Robert Mulder.
In the Herewegbuurt alone, 125 people were taken away and killed. During the project, information was collected on about 50 of them. Like about Lina Elsje Sophie West from the Tweede Willemstraat. Born in Groningen in 1923, murdered in Auschwitz in February 1943 at the age of 19. Or Frederika Goldsmith from the Rabenhauptstraat, who died in Sobibor in 1943.
“Thirty people have helped us on this project to find out what happened to Jewish residents. We have been working on that during the corona time. I didn’t just want their names, I wanted to know everything about those people, and hence the panels. All stories of ordinary people: doctors, traders, teachers, people who shared their love and life. It was emotional to figure it all out, the corona time was just a trifle compared to that. What a miserable story. About two-year-old Clara Wijnberg, for example, who walked into the gas chamber with her mother’s hand. You can dramatize that, but that’s how it happened,” says Robert Mulder.
As mentioned, the exhibition Every Name Counts was only on view briefly in the Synagogue to give an impression of what it is all about.
The intention is that the panels will return next year, but then placed on columns, which are placed on an explained map of the district. Visitors can then walk through those “streets” past the former addresses of the murdered residents. This presentation can then be seen in the synagogue from 8 – 15 May 2022.