Yaba Yaba

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Yishay Garbasz: “In My Mother’s Footsteps”

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I came across Yishay Garasz’s work accidently last year. Actually, it was the name that did it. Not many people spell it like that, and when I spotted my namesake, I clicked the link – only to find some great photos.

For the last 4 years Yishay has been working on a book called “in my mother’s footsteps”. The book is out, so congratulations, and good luck with the next project!


Westerbork 2005 “…Mother started work in the central kitchen, washing and preparing vegetables for the daily soup. This was hard work for her, as her health was poor. After some time she was given work which was less strenuous. Both my sisters worked outside the camp, at hard labor. I became a messenger girl, running all over the camp to deliver messages. I ruined a pair of shoes during the first month and then got my first pair of wooden shoes (klompen).”

»My mother lost parts of her soul in those places and I had to go back to collect them… As I am a photographer, the camera was going to be my tool to help me see.«Yishay Garbasz

British-Israeli photographer Yishay Garbasz uses a bulky large-format camera “to force herself to slow down.” Her project In My Mother’s Footsteps is an exploration of the inheritance of memory as well as a healing process. Garbasz’s mother was born in Berlin in 1929 and fled from the Nazis with her family to Holland in 1933. In 1942, at the age of 14, she was incarcerated and deported to Westerbork, then to Theresienstadt. Via Auschwitz-Birkenau, she arrived in Christianstadt and was sent in April 1945 on one of the infamous death marches to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where she was liberated by British forces.

In the making of this project, Garbasz traced her mother’s path for a year, often on foot, over long distances. The large camera forced her to spend time at each location, letting the image come to her, opening herself and the lens to what was there, admitting her own vulnerability.

The photographer was able to present the series to her mother, who died just a short while after its completion.



Written by yishaym

December 24, 2008 at 3:29 am

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