The Jewish Holocaust belongs to human history. For me it is a particularly painful fact of history because as a Jew born in Eastern Europe shortly before World War II, I belong with all of my being to that part of humanity. The Holocaust culminated in the destruction of six million lives. One can only imagine how many souls floated away as clouds into the unknown. What thoughts they carried with them, what secrets, what talents, what ordinary tales of life, how much indistinguishable love, how much joyous libido or life force, how much human potential and human happiness! Inumerable lives cut short without legacy. A document cannot convey it, reason cannot grasp it; only art, which addresses itself directly to human emotions is able to convey the enormity of this loss.
As an artist, I took upon myself the mission of finding expression for this eternal tragedy so that it would not remain a mere historical or statistical fact. I worked almost daily for over a decade in the strange process of fragmentary exploration without having any preliminary notion of where this search would take me. I strove for artistic synthesis, sought metaphors, tried to avoid illustrativeness in the various compositions of the cycle. It was not important for me to show the perpetrators, nor to show blood. I worked monochromatically. I could not use color because in the process of creating these works I was surrounded by darkness. There was no sky, no sun, no green grass. Only complete oblivion.
My ultimate goal was to inspire compassion for the victims of genocide, to show that the Jewish tragedy is not simply Jewish, but a universal human affliction. The destruction of human beings by human beings continues to this day. I felt it was my duty, as a survivor of World War II, as an artist, and most importantly as a human being, to honor the lives that were lost and to serve in their memory.
© Copyright by Mikhail Turovsky, 2008