We have seen a number of publications and books devoted to the Nazi concentration camps, but we did not want to repeat the stories already told. We did not want to appeal only to individual historical memories. There are institutions that record the accounts of the witnesses with great diligence and care, and with a sense of historical importance. We realized that what mattered to us more than accounts from the camps were reflections, feelings, and current understandings of the past. We quickly understood that for the former prisoners, the camps did not come to an end on the day of their liberation. They have persisted inside their mind with the same destructive force.
In creating this book, our goal was to come up with a new structure – one that would be timeless and that would tear down stereotypical assumptions. We are not speaking in our own words, but employing the stories of our subjects. What they are telling us comes from the present. Each story strikes us with its timeliness. We wanted to show how profound the experience of the camp is for those who survived it and how it affects their relationships, perceptions, psyches, viewpoints, and day-to-day functioning. We wanted every person who holds this book to find in it the question that they themselves would perhaps want to ask of a former prisoner.
The design of the book, created by Ania Nałęcka from Tapir Book Design, breathed fresh energy into us. There is little that can provide more motivation than the visualization of the guiding thought, of the soul of the project. And this project lives mainly through photographs.
At the same time, we are aware that this is an incredibly difficult subject. The very notion of a face-to-face encounter brings with it the weight of the documentary genre. The idea that the cover be made of sandpaper, unpleasant to touch and bringing to mind something rough and injurious, seemed appropriate. This is not the book to tuck in amongst others. Just the touch itself might discourage you from further contact. This is why we think that the subject as much as the album itself deserve a special place in the homes and minds of those who reach for it.
Photographs: Maciek Nabrdalik
Texts: Agnieszka Nabrdalik
Design: Ania Nalecka / Tapir Book Design
42 black and white photographs
Binding in hard sand-paper cover
Dimensions 8.45 x 9.25 inches (21.5 x 23.5cm)
Printrun: 1000 copies
Publisher: Exit Zero Publishing