Sunday, 20 January 2013

Is there a 3rd version of the Buchenwald photo in the USHMM's archives?

Above is the The Desert Holocaust Memorial, in Palms Springs, California (map) created by sculptor (of a lot of Holocaust memorials) Dee Clements and installed 1994. The red arrows indicate a series of 11 bronze bas-reliefs "telling a pictorial history of the Holocaust." They can be viewed on this link or this one. The website palmsprings.com claims of the scenes depicted on the bas-reliefs, and of the statues on the central memorial:
"The faces and representations at the memorial were taken from actual photographics and news footage researched by the artist at the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C."
Several of the bas-reliefs are instantly recognisable as accurate depictions of famous holocaust photos, for example this one and this one, whilst artistic licence was heavily employed when depicting other scenes, this one, and especially this one.

This post is about one bas-relief in-particular, one which accurately recreates a scene from arguably the most famous of holocaust photographs, the one recently exposed as a doctored photo. But the artist who created this piece, which he named 'Living Conditions', depicted the very part of the photo that we now know is doctored, in a completely different way from the two known versions of the photograph. Incidentally, his bas-relief 'Gas Chamber' in the same memorial, shows that Clements wasn't concerned about depicting naked people.

Instead of a thin, naked man standing by the pillar, or no man at all, there's a fully clothed man sat on the floor:

photo reproduced (without permission) from the sculptor's website.

All the men on the bunks are accurately depicted, apart from one, Clements decided to depicted a man where there is just a black space on the two known versions of the photograph.

Above are some Chosen People, including senior hoaxer Michael Berenbaum, at the April 25th, 2010 dedication of the Abe Besser Holocaust Memorial in the Marcus Jewish Community Centre of Atlanta, Georgia (map). Once again it features many sculptures by Dee Clements, including a another bronze casting of his version of the Buchenwald photo(s).

photo reproduced (without permission) from the sculptor's website.


  1. Great work, as ever, Black Rabbit.

    I'm sure this observation has been made before, but I suspect that part of the reason why the naked man was chosen for the cut-n-paste is to suggest a kind of Christ figure. The gaunt, bearded, yet strangely peaceful face; the vulnerable, skeletal nakedness; the shirt held up as a kind of "loin cloth," reminiscent of the tasteful drapery of church crucifixes; the soulful eyes looking up into the distance, past the camera; even the way face and body are overexposed in certain versions, making for a luminous, ghostly effect--it all plays into the meme complex of that greatest of iconic (literally, lol) figures in the West, the Big J. C. himself, re-arisen on the third day at Buchenwald, witness to the New Calvary, not two bunks down from Elie Wiesel.

    Shlomo the Plumber sitting on his butt with his coffee cup beside him just can't compare.

    All the more weird, then, that Clements chose him (assuming that he was indeed following a copy in the USHMM collection--though it's stranger still if he made the change himself). I can only guess that Clements doesn't (or didn't, at the time) know his holohoax iconography very well, and wound up taking a reject from the cutting room floor as the real deal. Too bad for him: he could have had Jesus for his savior, and instead he wound up with a Jewish Mario Mario.

    1. This had occurred to me too, the saintly figure recalls the Risen Christ in one of El Greco's paintings. Another photograph where the same man is sitting with two others may be an allusion to the "the third man who always walks with us" a reference to Jesus on the Road to Emmaus, which the audience of that era would have no difficulty picking up.

  2. Eager For Answers20 January 2013 at 15:59

    Clements may have added the Wondering -Sitting- Jew the same way he added an inmate in the bunks, thus giving credence to Carolyn Yeager's thesis.

    Or he may have had unrestricted accesss to the museum archives and chosen this as-yet unpublished doctored version of the Buchenwald picture; the model of his project was nevertheless accepted by the panel of sponsors, who may themselves be familiar with this version and unaware of its exclusive dimension.

  3. Just wondering who is paying for all this!

  4. There are 59 Holocaust museums that were built across major American cities, including Los Angeles, New York, Houston, St. Petersburg, Chicago, Boston, Dallas and Boca Raton.

    Can you imagine the total cost of these museums? Who is profiting from these museums?


    How did the Museum get started?
    On November 1, 1978 President Carter created a program called: The President's Commission on the Holocaust. They charged it with issuing a report on the state of Holocaust remembrance and education in the United States. Almost a year later, the President's Commission presented their findings and made four recommendations:
    o A memorial should be established to honor the victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
    o That an educational foundation be made to support research in the teaching of the Holocaust.
    o That a Committee on Conscience be around to collect information and alert the national conscience regarding reports of actual or potential outbreaks of genocide throughout the world.
    o That a national Day of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust be established in forever and be held annually.
    In 1980, Congress gave their consent to launch the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. The Council was charged with carrying out the above recommendations. Elie Wiesel was named the first Chairman of the Council and Mark E. Talisman the first Vice Chairman.
    Who designed and built the Museum?
    Architect: James Ingo Freed, from Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.

    Contractor: Blake Construction Company.
    How much did it cost to build the Museum?

    The Museum cost approximately $168 million to build. $90 million for the building's construction and $78 million for the exhibits!!
    So? How were the funds raised for the Museum’s construction?
    The land was donated by the federal government and was given more than $200,000 in private donations since the museum is the product of a strong partnership between the government and private philanthropy. As required by law, all funds for planning, constructing and equipping the Museum were raised exclusively from private, tax deductible contributions.

    How long did it take to build the Museum?
    The construction took about four years. It started in July 1989 and finished in April 1993.

    How big is the Museum?
    The Museum is approx. 161 feet wide, 312 feet long, 91 feet tall, and about 265,000 square feet in size! (Holly swish that's big!)


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