The Lonka Project is an educational-artistic project and a photographic tribute to Holocaust survivors around the world, who, despite the global pandemic, continue to stand as a symbol of optimism and strength, the last witnesses of a world that was destroyed in a world they have rebuilt.
Over the last two years, some 250 of the world’s leading professional photographers, of all faiths, contributed their time and talent in 30 countries, each capturing a Holocaust survivor in the context that makes a unique and memorable statement about their lives. The outcomes celebrate the bravery and resilience of Holocaust survivors and their power to live.
The photographers who took part in the project faced the past that accompanies Holocaust survivors throughout their lives. A past of suffering experienced by the survivors in the darkest time in modern history, which thousands of photographs will not be able to fully capture, and transcends the limitation of photography and art.
With sensitivity and empathy, the participating photographers were able to create intimacy between the subject and the photographer, which comes across in the hundreds of photographs created for the Lonka Project in 2019 and throughout 2020, even during the Covid-19 crisis. Alongside prominent and experienced photographers, many are emerging and talented members of the new generation of photographers, for whom this was their first encounter with a Holocaust survivor – an illuminating and unforgettable encounter, as they attest.
We all know that the importance is not only in remembering but also in reminding, and the connection with the generations of tomorrow is visual. Photography – our language – a universal language, has the power to bridge the intergenerational gap, contribute to educating and fighting the ignorance that exists in the world on the subject of the Holocaust, and convey the messages of many survivors who call for humanity and compassion, in a world not rid of the dangers of ethnic hatred.
The survivors are those who have the role of preserving the memory, while we, the photographers, have a duty to turn the spotlight on them, as time cannot be defeated.
The Lonka project was initiated in tribute to Lonka, Dr. Eleonora Nass from Tel Aviv, who as a girl survived five Nazi concentration camps, and passed away in the summer of 2018.
The Lonka project was established by Jim Hollander, the son of Gino Hollander – an American soldier who fought the Nazis in WWII and Rina Castelnuovo – Lonka’s daughter. Their collaborator, Chagai Roth (PHd), is a biologist on Bone Development at Weizmann Institute of Science, and a leading project producer/coordinator.
The project will be presented extensively in the spring in collaboration with the Jerusalem Municipality
The Lonka Project www.thelonkaproject.com
Gilles Peress, Rina Castelnuovo, Alec Soth, Eyal Landesman, Ohad Zwigenberg, Vardi Kahana, Avigail Uzi, Robert Gumpert, Eli Reed, Miri Tzachi, Jim Hollander, Roger Ballen, Eyal Warshavsky, Ronen Zvulun, Bea Bar Kallos, Marissa Roth, Davis Factor, Maurice Weiss.