Presenting a selection of nearly 150 pieces from various sources, this photographic exhibition recreates the history of Salonika (today Thessaloniki) Greece from the second half of the 19th century to the end of the First World War. Men and women are captured in their traditional costumes: modest artisans, porters, traders, members of the local “aristocracy;” society is revealed. Urban modernization is also shown: the quays and the White Tower, cafes, restaurants and entertainment venues; the Countryside sector where the notables established their residence; deprived areas, where emerging industries were established.
But also, in the now Greek city, the great fire of August 1917, an authentic trauma for the Jews who saw their historic neighborhoods, the municipal archives and more than thirty synagogues swept away by the flames, before the geopolitical upheavals caused by the First War worldwide.
A multimedia exhibition by the artist, architect and historian Natalia Romik dedicated to the creativity of Polish Jews seeking to survive the Shoah in hiding.
In Poland and Ukraine during World War II, approximately 50,000 people survived persecution by the German occupying forces in hiding. The majority of them were Jewish. They found refuge in tree hollows, closets, basements, sewers, empty graves, and other precarious locations. Natalia Romik’s exhibition “Hideouts. The Architecture of Survival” pays tribute to these fragile places of refuge and explores their physicality. The show poses basic questions about the relationship between architecture, private life, and the public sphere: it addresses the protective function of spaces and emphasizes the creativity those in hiding brought to bear in their attempt to survive.
In a research project extending over several years, Natalia Romik and an interdisciplinary team of researchers consulted oral histories to identify several hiding places, which they explored using forensic methods. The multimedia exhibition “Hideouts. The Architecture of Survival” presents the results of this research. It consists of sculptures bearing a direct connection to the sites and includes documentary films, forensic recordings, photos, documents, and objects found in the hiding places.
“Hideouts: The Architecture of Survival” is presented in cooperation with the Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw and the TRAFO Center for Contemporary Art in Szczecin. On the occasion of the show at the Jewish Museum Frankfurt, a catalogue will be published in German and English editions by Hatje Cantz Verlag.
The exhibition was curated by Kuba Szreder and Stanisław Ruksza with the help of Aleksandra Janus (scientific collaboration). For the presentation in Frankfurt, Katja Janitschek, curator of the Judengasse Museum, was responsible for the curatorial project management. We would like to thank the Evonik Foundation for their generous support.