"Witness to the Holocaust"
Sculpture Series, 1988-91

On National Tour with the Anne Frank Exhibit 1991-95

The Holocaust inspired sculpture series "Witness to the Holocaust" represents the process through which I came to terms with my family's history during World War II. I did not consciously set out to produce a Holocaust series. The series came from my inner questioning of what it means to be a second generation survivor.

The works were initially carved from stone. The rhythmic pounding of hammer against chisel has a calming effect and provides a perfect opportunity for introspection. The absence of preliminary sketches and maquettes allowed for deep and often unconscious thoughts and feelings to unfold and expand within the natural texture and contours of the stone.

The traveling sculpture exhibition "Witness to the Holocaust" is comprised of eight bronze castings, patinaed to retain the natural qualities found in the original stone sculptures from which they were cast. The sculptures are accompanied by selected quotes from the Diary of Anne Frank which have been silk screened onto triangular shaped dark gray pedestals.

Through my association with this sculpture series, I have met many Holocaust survivors and have heard incredible accounts of survival. I have learned that although inner strength and the will to live contributed to personal survival, luck and chance also came into play. And if my father survived by chance than I too exist by chance. Eleven million Jews and non-Jews perished during the Holocaust. The world we live in today will never know the music, works of art, medical discoveries, acts of charity and other worthy contributions that perished along with each victims future.

"Witness to the Holocaust" is not merely an historical account of human suffering. Prejudice and anti-Semitism are not issues of the past. Hate crimes are on the rise. Holocaust Deniers threaten the future by changing the past. Holocaust survivors are aging and passing on. Who will speak for them after they are gone? Who will teach our children to understand the ramifications of anti-Semitism and discrimination of all types? Who will take a stand to make "never again" a reality?

-Devorah Sperber, 1991