" No foreign sky protected me,
no stranger's wing shielded my face.
I stand as witness to the common lot,
survivor of that time, that place. "
March 2006 Eastern Slovakia
Serendipity lead the photographer Yuri Dojc, his producer Katya Krausova and their documentary film team to an abandoned Jewish school in Eastern Slovakia, where time had stood still since the day in 1942 when all those attending it were deported to the concentration camps…
…the school books were there still, essay notebooks with corrections, school reports, birth certificates, school accounts, even sugar still in the kitchen cupboard… all decaying on dusty shelves, the final witnesses to a once thriving culture.
These abandoned, disintegrating books are treated by Yuri Dojc like the survivors that they each are - every one captured as a portrait, preserved in their final beauty, pictures speaking a thousand words.
Now, years later, his own search, which started with portraits of survivors following his father's death, is transformed into a remarkable photographic narrative.
Amongst these many hundreds of books and fragments photographed by Yuri, one stands out especially - one which miraculously found its way from a dusty pile to its rightfull heir - a book once owned by Yuri’s grandfather Jakab.
Last Folio charts a personal journey in cultural memory – a reflection on the universal loss, as a part of the European rememberance.
Last Folio now travels as an art installation combining an exhibition of selected photographs a documentary film ,and a book in a number of countries on both sides of the Atlantic.
Twelve of the images are now part of the permanent collection of the Library of Congress in Washington.
In 2015 Last Folio will be part of the worldwide commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the exhibition will be seen in the United Nations in New York, in the National Library of Germany in Berlin, the Mark Rothko Museum in Latvia in the New Museum of Tolerance in Moscow and the Art Gallery of Tufts University in the USA.
Special Thanks To…
The Rothschild Foundation Europe
Lowy Mitchell Foundation, UK
Ministry of Culture, Slovak republic
Rita & John Grunwald Foundation, USA
Fern Schad & Alfred Moses, USA
The May & Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, USA
Mr John Studzinski
Mr Henry Kallan
The Cambridge Jewish association
Pentagram, Daniel Weil
The Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, UK
News Corporation - Media Sponsor
All photographs © Yuri Dojc. All rights reserved. Last Folio exhibition and film © Katya Krausova and Yuri Dojc.