Dani Karavan

Picture: Dani Karavan on the memorial

Dani Karavan on the Memorial  

A clearing in the Tiergarten, lined with trees and shrubs, in the vicinity of the Reichstag building. A quaint, unimposing site, withdrawn from the bustle of the city. A site of inner sadness, a site for feeling pain, for remembering and not letting the annihilation of the Sinti and Roma by the National Socialist regime fall into oblivion. Is such a place possible? Or is it only found in emptiness, in nothingness? Do I have the strength to create a site of nothingness? A site deprived of everything. No words, no names, no metal, no stone. Only tears, only water, surrounded by the survivors, by those who remember what happened, by those who know the horror as well as those who never experienced it. They are reflected, upside down, in the water of the deep, black pit, covered by the sky – the water, the tears. Only a small stone, which sinks and rises, again and again, day after day. And on it every day a new blossom, so that each day we can remember anew, constantly, to all eternity. The water encloses the sky, the blue, the grey, the black sky. Clouds, light, darkness. The whirling water swallows it all. All that remains is the sound of a lonely violin raising a murdered melody, poised in pain.

 

Biography of Dani Karavan

Dani Karavan, the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland, was born in Tel Aviv on December 7, 1930. He began painting at the age of 12, and in 1943 he took first drawing classes at the studio of Aharon Avni. He studied at the Bezalel School of Art and Design in Jerusalem, at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence and at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris.

Much of his work is dedicated to commemorating the horrors of the Holocaust. He too lost a part of his family under the National Socialist reign of terror. In 1993 he completed the »Way of Human Rights« at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg. The following year his Camp de Gurs, a »Mémorial national« directed against forgetting authentic sites and commissioned by the French state, was inaugurated.

Dani Karavan’s works frequently employ only natural materials such as water, sand and even wind. They prompt the visitor not only to observe, but to move around and reflect upon each element.