Artist Restores Old Photos To Ensure The Holocaust Is Never Forgotten

The Holocaust claimed the lives of six million Jews and is one of the gravest tragedies in human history. To ensure that history does not repeat itself, it is important that we do not forget what happened in Europe between 1941 and 1945.

In an effort to preserve the memory of both the atrocity and the Second World War, an artist has restored old photographs from the time - even adding colour to some, including a portrait of Anne Frank and shots of malnourished prisoners in a Nazi death camp.

Joachim West has been working on the project for several years and says he wants to raise more awareness and allow people to better connect with the photos' subjects.

Speaking to Indy100, the artist said he has suffered discrimination for being Jewish.

The artist  said he was horrified to find that younger people know very little about the Holocaust. Credit: Joachim West
The artist said he was horrified to find that younger people know very little about the Holocaust. Credit: Joachim West

He told the news outlet: "As a Jew, it isn't uncommon for me to experience antisemitism. I spent last year living in a town in Spain that was completely covered in Nazi graffiti from a local skinhead group. I've been called a 'Kike' and more than once people have told me Holocaust jokes as if I would find them funny.

"More times than you might imagine, people have taken the time to explain to me that all Jews share a collective blood guilt from the death of Jesus and that we deserved the persecution that has followed us across the millennia."

Last year a study revealed that young people apparently lack a basic knowledge of the Holocaust, with 31 percent of Americans and 41 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds believing that two million or fewer Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.

According to a study, 41 percent of 18-34-year-olds believe that two million or fewer Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Credit: Joachim West
According to a study, 41 percent of 18-34-year-olds believe that two million or fewer Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Credit: Joachim West

It also found that 41 percent of Americans and 66 percent of 18-34-year-olds do not know what Auschwitz was.

Joachim said it's 'horrifying' that younger people don't understand what happened.

He added: "The Holocaust is extremely relevant to us today and the thought that our youth are woefully uneducated about it is horrifying and a portend of bad things to come unless we make a change.

"I'm grateful to think that I could do a something in bringing these memories closer to people's minds and hearts.

Joachim has restored old photographs of prisoners and victims of the Second World War. Credit: Joachim West
Joachim has restored old photographs of prisoners and victims of the Second World War. Credit: Joachim West

"Something about seeing those images in colour really helps people to sympathise with those who were lost and to remember that the Holocaust wasn't so long ago."

He added: "I'm afraid that we may be doomed to repeat a history that we are quickly forgetting and that I believe that we are already seeing the repercussions of our forgetfulness.

"I know that we have already reached many millennials who have written that they feel that the colour brings the images to life for them, makes them feel more immediate and that they are shocked and saddened by the images."

Featured Image Credit: Joachim West

Dominic Smithers

After graduating from Leeds University with a degree in French and History, Dom went onto gain an NCTJ journalism qualification. Since then he has worked as a reporter at the Manchester Evening News and the Macclesfield Express, covering breaking news, court, sports, and politics.

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