Photo-souvenirs of the infamous : La colonie des enfants d’IzieuPosted: May 11, 2014
This is an extended version of a few thoughts that I have already published elsewhere.
The book was published in March 2012 and it is definitely an important, haunting book. A the cross of vernacular photography and found photography, this book is an album of the photos from what was called « la colonie des enfants d’Izieu ». This house was an orphanage created in the east part of France (former free zone), to protect Jewish children at the end of World War II. But under the order of Klaus Barbie (the infamous butcher of Lyon), on April 6th 1944, 44 children and 7 adults were arrested and moved to Drancy, then deported to Auschwitz or Reval, where they have been assassinated.
The book is an important testimony about this place. La Maison d’Izieu opened in 1994 to document the short “one year long” existence of the colony. It combines texts and images. A few texts have been written for the purpose of the book, for instance one by the chairman of “La maison d’Izieu”, introducing the purpose of the book: talking about life. And the beautiful text by Jean-Christophe bailly called “Dwell the time”, about mourning and moreover about the necessity to never forget. The photos come from the collection of the Maison d’Izieu and have been made during two period: the main corpus was done during the summer 1943, by different adults, working here, and teenagers who owned a camera and the last 7 photographs were shot, by a neighbour, on March 26th 1944, twelve days before the raid by the French authorities. A last series of photographs come at the end of the book to illustrate the complete list of the deported children and adults from the colony.
As a complement to my article, you can read the excellent essay published by paopagandaphotos blog about two books whose subject was the Nürnberg trial. In the essay, comes the question of the ability of photography, and photographers to show the unshowable or the infamous. This book about the colony of children tells so much about the stolen lives.