exhibition opening: August 16th, 2020, 5 PM
exhibition open until October 25th, 2020, from Wednesday to Sunday, from 10 AM to 12:00 and from 1 PM to 5 PM
Embellished with symbols and inscriptions, Jewish tombstones convey information about the life of people, families and entire shtetls (towns). How many matzevot were there before the World War II at the 1,200 Jewish cemeteries in Poland? This is a question, which nobody can answer today. The number may have reached a few hundred thousand or a few million.
More than four hundred Jewish cemeteries did not survive the war times. They were rearranged to provide sites for housing estates, sports fields, garbage dumps or sand quarries. The sand mined from them to build houses was mixed with human remains. Only a hundred and fifty graveyards still have more than a hundred gravestones.
During the World War II the Nazi occupants used matzevot to pave the courtyards of their new buildings, to lay roads or erect walls. Poles continued this infamous practice after the war. Matzevot were used, for instance, to line a water pool for fire fighters, a railway embankment or a riverbank. They were used as building material for furnaces, flooring and road curbs. A visitor will find hundreds of grinding wheels made of matzevot, many of them still bearing Hebrew inscriptions.
The pictures were taken between 2008 and 2011.
Łukasz Baksik (1975), photographer / documentary and socially engaged photography.
Łukasz Baksik is primarily interested in documentary photography. His most important project Matzevot for everyday use shows the ways the headstones taken from Jewish cemeteries were used in Poland by the Nazis to pave the courtyards, lay roads and erect buildings. Poles continued this infamous practice for many years after the war.
All of his other projects (e.g. Main Course Polish Style, Ordering a beer, The People of Nowy Square) conceited a crucial social component.