Journey through Auschwitz-Birkenau

Artist Statement

By: Margaret Wroblewski

Auschwitz-Birkenau is a place of unspeakable pain. When I arrived to the camp, I thought I had been transported to another world. I slowly began to comprehend the reality of what happened here; I felt a void in my heart I never knew possible. As my boots brushed the dirt where millions once stood, questions and anger flooded my mind. Barren trees, witnesses of the past, enveloped the camp. Brick remnants stood in the distance, once the dwelling of helpless innocent victims. Auschwitz-Birkenau, an undeniable place of human hatred, genocide, and evident hope.

Eventually, I approached the train tracks. I stood right where thousands of families were severed forever. I attempted to envision myself in their shoes: stuffed in a train like animals, exhausted, hungry, cold, terrified, and immediately sorted and separated from my four siblings and parents. The magnitude of evil and ubiquitous reality of human suffering struck me. These emotions evoked by this memorial can be lessons for humanity. Hoping that I was in a different world while exploring these grounds, the fact remains: I wasn’t. Internally, I was screaming. Auschwitz screamed back.

This experience was painful. But it serves as a reminder, a compass for the future. There are migrants, starving women and children, war, and terror always existing. What we do today – what generations in the future will do. It is up to all of us to diminish future suffering. I want to use photography to diminish human suffering.

My portfolio is a compilation of diptychs. The photographs on the left are depictions of Auschwitz. The photographs on the right are landscapes. The diptychs communicate various relationships towards one another, opening various renditions of interpretation.

Without the events ending World War II many of these would not be here today. The connection between the two photographs demonstrate the beauty with human existence and how Auschwitz has left a permanent scare on our world. How the events of the past, create the world in which we live today. They are my best effort to explain how ultimately tragic events can lead to beauty.

Photography tells the story of human existence within the past, present, and future. These images carry the beauty and horror within our world. We can never forget the pain of the past and the lessons that it teaches us today. Images carry lessons for tomorrow, forcing human beings not to repeat the same mistakes. Photography encapsulates the truth about our world and I hope to fulfil this notion for the rest of my life.