It was about two years ago that Dr. Shmuel Boris Korn who was a survivor of the holocaust and lived in Kiryat-Tivon in Israel, came to me with the photo of this little boy from Warsaw ghetto, walking with his hands up and asked me if I could make a sculpture of this boy to commemorate his cousins whom he last saw walking like that to the train that took them from the ghetto.
We decided to give it a try. When the model was ready we met and decided to go for the full size image.
I never did any work about the holocaust until I met Boris because of my difficulties in coping with such an emotionally loaded subject. I started my work with extreme caution. It was most important to be able to deliver the atmosphere and the horror of the scene then the reality of lines.
In about 6 weeks the sculpture was ready in clay and I tried to call Boris but couldn't find him. 2 weeks later I learned from a friend that Boris had died without seeing the sculpture.
So there I was with this sculpture and it felt as if I was left with a will. The thought was constantly in my mind – the memory of those children, was now lost, with the death of the only survivor who knew them.
I decided to make a mold to ensure the existence of the sculpture so I took the clay sculpture home to disassemble it for recycling. In the middle of breaking it – suddenly it expressed so much more than what I was trying to convey, just by being partly incomplete.
It took 2-3 months of seeing it daily, until I made another mold.
All that time I didn't really know what to do with those two sculptures, and it took a couple of months again until, suddenly… I understood that what bothered me all that time was the idea of those children and so many more like them
Loosing all traces of memory, and that gave me the feeling of the "vanishing memory"
Suddenly I saw the vanishing so clearly the way it should be made to bring people to think about the danger of loosing the memory of those horrors of the holocaust.
So the third and fourth sculptures I made working with wax. Careful not to hurt or shock anybody that they would turn away, but to be very clear in what I want people to see and think and remember, because that is the most important thing- never forget.
In the fourth-and last one I used my own memory. The first thing I remembered when I thought about this picture, were the hands and the face with the hat, so I decided to take them as the last memory of this boy, so the third had to be in the middle in order to have the right flow of vanishing.
The vanishing of material, the vanishing of color and the vanishing of words.
That is the "vanishing memory"
From the original picture which I got courteously from "Yad- Vashem" museum, I used only the relevant part of the child and the Nazi soldiers, only to connect the installation to the time and place of which it talks about.
Today we sorrowfully know that there are too many horrors in the world that you can attach that installation to, and maybe that is why it is so important to remind and warn the world.
But for me in this installation first and utmost is to always remember the Shoa.