In this project, I am exploring the modern sites and surroundings of the World War II Nazi concentration and extermination camps. Despite the existence of numerous memorials, the surrounding landscapes and its details—the actual locations themselves—remain largely unmarked.

Instead, what I found were modern pictures of peaceful life. In many locations, fragments of a new infrastructure have arisen on the spot of agonizing deaths of millions. So, these images depict a memory and now a reality that I find to be in discord with the history of the place.

What did prisoners see through the slats of the train cars that transported them to their deaths? Might the surroundings have seemed as banal to them as they do to visitors today? Time can isolate us from the terror of these events. Yet “Signs” asks us to consider our knowledge of the past in a more integral way: although we are in the present, does that mean we are “beyond” the events of history?

“Signs” is an ongoing project, started in 2013.

—Jegor Zaika

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