Prefaces

Preface by Ms Irina Bokova,

Director-General of UNESCO,

to the work

“Courage, will, life: survivors of the Holocaust”

By Mr Alain Husson-Dumoutier,

UNESCO Artist for Peace

 

UNESCO has made holocaust education a vital component in building the defences of peace in the minds of men and women. As the survivors die, the living memory of the Holocaust fades gradually and our responsibility to future generations increases. More than ever, we must redouble our efforts to transmit this history and combat all forms of Holocaust denial.

The transmission of eye-witness accounts is a key aspect of this effort. Artists must play their role in this to the full, revealing a truth of the emotions and issues that is often complementary to historical research. The effort to understand the Holocaust, an unprecedented undertaking aimed at the destruction of the Jewish people, leads us to the roots of evil. For many years, the words of survivors were met with indifference, embarrassment and even disbelief. The artist restores unique depth to those words and in doing so emphasizes their universal scope. The witnesses all experienced loss, trauma and violence in different ways. Those who died all had a name, a family, friendships and romances, joys and sorrows. While the Nazis tried to erase every trace of their existence, the work of art restores their presence, thus giving back to these people their place in the march of humanity.

In this perspective, the work entitled “Courage, will, life: survivors of the Holocaust” by Alain Husson-Dumoutier, UNESCO Artist for Peace, is of particular importance. Alain Husson-Dumoutier’s work is primarily a reflection on life and not only on death – even if life is sometimes haunted by the guilt of having survived when others have perished – a life underpinned by the will to once again become the master of one’s destiny. The words of this work carry a humanist message, a call to foster what is best in human beings – courage, will, life – with the awareness that they are capable of the worst. 

UNESCO fully endorses this message and takes action through its international programme for Holocaust education. Transmission of this history begins at school with young people, through teacher training and curriculum design, throughout the world. UNESCO works alongside many specialized partner agencies to share educational resources and develop knowledge that will help students to become more tolerant and aware of the human rights violations and threats of genocide in today’s world. There is no more solid foundation on which to build a lasting peace.

 Irina Bokova

Preface of Beate and Serge Klarsfeld

 

Great artists have often deliberately created works as though they were part of a series: the Madonnas of Fra Angelico or Raphael, Rembrandt’s self-portraits, the views of Venice by Cana- letto, Monet’s Water Lilies.
The same theme is constantly revived thus expressing the artist’s search for the truth both in the subject matter and in himself.

Alain Husson-Dumoutier, unesCo Artist for Peace, met 35 survivors of the concentration camp universe of the Holocaust.
They had been through hell, lost loved ones, suffered in their flesh and in their hearts.
He had to penetrate their mystery.What did they remember sixty years on, of this unutterable experience when the executioner wanted to put them to death and yet at the same time deprive them of human dignity.

It meant disclosing the authenticity of these survivors and from each encounter, derive a political and humane ethic.
Did these women and men, who had been confronted by the Devil and his kapos, lose their faith in Man and in a peaceful future of Humanity?

Were they permanently submerged by the violence which had tortured them, precipitating them into an abyss of pessimism?
Did the executioner degrade them causing them to topple over into hatred and revenge?
No. The messages conveyed by the small number of those who, in 1945, emerged from the forbidden planet of Auschwitz / Birkenau; from this black hole of the Human galaxy; these mes- sages which express the innermost feelings of each of them have been picked up by the extreme sensitivity of AHD.

each message is a paving stone on the path of courage, will and life.
Indeed, these qualities can also be seen as pertaining to Evil when they are wrongly put to use and even the greatest souls can be as competent in the greatest wrong doings as in the greatest righteousness.
But for those people who can still feel the soil of Auschwitz beneath their feet and in their night- mares, these qualities serve the cause of humanism and peace and their invaluable words set down by AHD, express this:
« forgive in order to live» ,»remain dignified « , »build « ,»love «, »be able to give in order to receive» , «do good « ,»freedom «, « caution», «never forget», «be human «,» no to racism», «love people «, «love….»
The genius of AHD was to become attached to his models and understand that they belonged to an extremely rare and endangered species, often uncertain about confiding their innermost thoughts.
He plunged into the depths of each one like a speleologist of their aching souls, and could per- ceive what each person had really become after this horrendous experience of survival in a Nazi extermination camp.
Thanks to AHD each of the 35 has a portrait which ressembles him far more than an expressive photograph could.
These are not abstract or symbolic paintings.
They are fresh, bold, intuitive and deductive, allowing us to decipher each person ‘s own private path and most hallowed legacy.
This collective legacy has been compiled by AHD and henceforth his exhibitions will enlighten the visitor, guiding towards those values which the survivors have perfected and would hope to see defended and triumphant.
AHD has entitled two of the works «sun of Birkenau « and «sun of Auschwitz».
We believe that such will be the message of this remarkable exhibition: inspite of the, horror there was a sun over those men who had never abandoned hope of remaining human beings.

 

Preface by Jean Pierer SERVEL

Great Master of the Grande Loge Nationale Française

 

It is an honour for the Free Masons of the Grande Loge Nationale Française that I represent to preface the powerful work catalogue of Alain Husson-Dumoutier. A result of seven years which pays homage to the Holocaust victims.

This work is dedicated to all the persons who act for peace. It is a magical testimony on the infinite reactions of the human beings when they are confronted to the worst as they were immolated,and des- troyed .But after they pardoned and they rebuilt.

Alain Husson-Dumoutier bears a extraordinary hope because he belie- ves in te future of the individuals as well as in people
He sides on life and applies himself to give it a sense
He bears a desire, an appeal, an elevation.

He carries light.
All jews, gypsies, homosexuals and free-masons have been chased, imprisoned and exterminated by the Nazis. The hatred of the Third Reich against masonry has a real link with antisemitism. As soon as 1935 masonsry has been dissolved in Germany. In France, in the name of the “permenent Masonic conspiracy, the Vichy government will for- bid masonry and will prosecute masons, will card register them and will deport them.
This is a a mutual destiny, the one of the victims of the Holocaust which is engraved in the mankind history for ever
We masons, as we have suffered in our flesh, we are full of an infinite compassion for all these survivors of the Holocaust who Alain Husson- Dumoutier has met and portraited.
Some of them were masons To the three words “Courage Will and Life “ which are enhanced by the author; we answer “Solidarity, Compas- sion and Comprehension”
Thanks to Alain Husson-Dumoutier to associate the free masons to his work of memory and spirit.