Flowers of Auschwitz

Rose Smith & Trevor Avery
2015 – Lake District Holocaust Project, Windermere  

In the 1940s an old schoolhouse at Rajsko marked the entrance to a vast complex of greenhouses that Jewish prisoners, imprisoned some two miles away at Auschwitz Birkenau, built and worked in. The original greenhouses have remained virtually untouched since 1945.  

Some of the wildflowers displayed in the glass cabinet  were used both for the photographs and the film made with a microscopic camera. The photographs were then printed and digitally filmed. Magnifying the image in both film and photography allowed the artist to reveal qualities and meanings that may otherwise have remained concealed. The framed photograms were initially hand developed by contact with wildflowers collected from the former Calgarth Estate in the Lake District, at Theresienstadt and in the hinterlands of Osweiçim between Auschwitz and Birkenau. These were printed onto wood and encased in limed wood glass frames to echo the greenhouses at Rajsko.

We are like plants full of life and sap, like plants waiting to grow and live and I cannot help thinking that these plants are not meant to live“.
Lily (a prisoner at Rajsko)

Viola – excerpt

Greenhouses Rajsko – excerpt

See also The Auschwitz Dandelion