Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten Mahn‑ und Gedenkstätte Ravensbrück

But I live. Three Stories of Child Survivors of the Holocaust.

Illustrated stories by Miriam Libicki, Barbara Yelin and Gilad Seliktar based on accounts by Holocaust survivors Emmie Arbel, David Schaffer and Nico and Rolf Kamp

Emmie Arbel survived the Ravensbrück and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps as a little girl. David Schaffer escaped the genocide in Transnistria because he did not abide by the rules . Brothers Nico and Rolf Kamp, separated from their parents, were hidden from their murderers in thirteen different sites by the Dutch Resistance. Only a few Holocaust survivors are still alive today. Recording their memories is crucial. But I live undertakes this task in exceptional ways: It creates graphic histories for which there are scarcely any documentary models. Working closely with the four survivors, the internationally renowned artists—Miriam Libicki (Vancouver, Canada), Gilad Seliktar (Pardes Hanna-Karkur, Israel), and Barbara Yelin (Munich, Germany)—produced graphic reconstructions of the survivors’ memories. These encounters resulted in the comics that by way of images explore the questions of trauma, memory, and survival. Both the ensuing anthology But I live, edited by Dr. Charlotte Schallié (University of Victoria, Canada), and the exhibition depart from habitual ways of seeing and well-known images of the Holocaust. These (hi)stories directly and movingly visualize incomprehensible events. In so doing they create a new memory-archive for future generations. The medium of graphic storytelling (“comics”) thereby proves itself to be a powerful means—beyond that of photorealistic representation—of plausibly, subjectively, and as truthfully as possible reconstructing in narrative form what was visually undocumented. Using original drawings, sketches, archival materials, and interviews with participants, the exhibition illuminates the process by which the book came into existence.

The exhibition “Den Holocaust erinnern” (“Three Stories of Child Survivors of the Holocaust”) was first conceived in 2022 as part of the Erlangen Comicsalon and afterwards mounted in Dortmund and Wiesbaden.

It has now come to the Memorial Museum Ravensbrück and thus to a site of historical events.

With the publication of Barbara Yelin’s comic The Colours of Memory, more of Emmie Arbel’s story has since been told. In response, the exhibition has been extended to include new original materials.

The Mahn- und Gedenkstätte would like to thank the Kunsthaus Wiesbaden, schauraum: comic + cartoon Dortmund, the International Comic Salon Erlangen, Arolsen Archives, Zentrum für Holocaust-Studien in München, New Jewish Press (University of Toronto Press), Verlag C.H. Beck, Reprodukt Verlag, Andrea Wuerth, Iain Higgins and the Soroptimist International Club Berlin-Mitte.