Ridderhof Martin Gallery
Exhibition on view: April 5th- June 28th
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 5th, 5-7pm
Last Portraits Documentary Screening: April 5, 7pm, in Pollard Hall 304
Affiliated talk by Armin Langer: Jewish Past and Present in Amsterdam, April 9, 4pm, in Combs Hall 139
This powerful exhibition presents rarely captured humanity and emotion in its striking depiction of life in Nazi occupied Amsterdam. Annemie Wolff was born in Germany but moved to Amsterdam in 1933 because of the anti-Semitic policies of the new Nazi regime; some of her greatest work comes from the era of the Second World War and the German occupation of Western Europe. This exhibition features never before seen portraits of both Jews and gentiles who lived in South Amsterdam between January and October of 1943–three years into the five-year long German occupation of the Netherlands.
Amazingly, these photographs were not discovered until 2008– some fourteen years after Wolff’s death. A Dutch historian of photography, Simon Kool, discovered 100 rolls of film–which contained the portraits of 434 individuals during the occupation–in the attic of Wolff’s heir. Once the portraits were discovered a search began to locate the people who were pictured or any of their remaining family. To date over half of the people photographed have been identified through research and interviews.
This compelling exhibition includes 26 photographs, as well as didactic materials, which allow one to examine Wolff’s work through not only the lens of the history of photography, but also the lenses of history, religion, and sociology, as well as through one’s own cultural or personal experiences.