c. amstutz



remembering the shoah

critic: stephen leet
option studio: Florence
fall 2018

The second 6-week abroad studio commenced with research on Italian fascism & the shoah (holocaust).Between November 6th and 9th 1943, 300 Florentine Jews and antifascists were herded from homes, contained in a school courtyard, and marched to Santa Maria Novella Station. The victims were secretively deported to their final fate at Auschwitz; the 16 survivors recall their traumatic transportation in overfilled cattle.

In attempt to remember these shoah victims, as well as implicate the perpetrators, students were prompted to design a shoah memorial in that very courtyard, which is now part of the Museo Novecento. Programmatic requirements  involved 3 components: honoring the victims, acknowledging the often overlooked role Italy played in the shoah, and the inclusion of an artifact from the shoah.

Victims' names are inscribed inside of 5 concrete cattle car forms – the number of cars used in the Nov. 9th deportation. The folded panel system captures the cars, subverting the form of the swastika – a visceral symbol of the oppressor. One concrete panel bisects a car – a reveal of light illuminates the names of the 16 survivors. Text reading "indifferenza" (indifference) and "coinvolgimento" (involvement) inscribe  the tilted panel. Light pours through the text to register the words onto the ground.

© 2020 caroline amstutz