Bored Panda works better on our iPhone app
Continue in app Continue in browser
BoredPanda Add Post

The Bored Panda iOS app is live! Fight boredom with iPhones and iPads here.

10 Heartbreaking Colorized Holocaust Photos That Were Rejected By Everyone Until I Posted Them On Bored Panda
356points
User submission
16.2K
193.1K
Other3 years ago

10 Heartbreaking Colorized Holocaust Photos That Were Rejected By Everyone Until I Posted Them On Bored Panda

About five years ago I made a portfolio of colorized images of the Holocaust and reached out to various organizations dedicated to preserving the memory of this horrific period in history about the possibility of working with them. Many of them didn’t respond and the ones that did didn’t seem interested in colorized images of the Holocaust. They didn’t see what I saw, that colorized images of the Holocaust could help us to relate to the precious lives of the people that we had lost.

I abandoned the project until last year when I saw a news article in the New York Times that had been published on Holocaust Remembrance Day with shocking figures about the number of people who lacked basic knowledge of the Holocaust in the United States. The figures were especially high among Millennials.

I had posted artwork on Bored Panda before and the results had been nominal but it seemed like a good venue to reach young people so I uploaded my images and the results shocked me.

More info: joachimwest.com | Instagram

(Photo of wedding bands found during the liberation of Buchenwald concentration camp)

My email blew up immediately. People wanted permission to post the images on their website, they wanted to interview me, they wanted permission to report on the work. A local high school used the images in their discussion about the Holocaust.

(Photo of Anne Frank)

(Photo of a Polish girl – Czesława Kwoka – 1942)

The number of views that the article received on Bored Panda alone skyrocketed into the tens of thousands. With news sites from all over the world reporting on the story my expectations were exceeded. I’ve been extremely humbled by this experience.

(Photo from Auschwitz concentration camp)

This year as Holocaust Remembrance Day has come and gone my story has been republished and even more people have seen the images. I was even contacted yesterday by Channel 5 News in the UK about a television interview. Unfortunately, more articles have also been released with similar bad news about humanity’s poverty of understanding concerning the Holocaust. The problem is not endemic but global. The BBC reported that England is suffering from a similar problem to the United States.

(Photo from Poland in 1939)

We need to do something to improve the quality of education about the Holocaust because it is an important reminder of the terrible cost of human hatred.

(Photo from Poland in 1939)

While I consistently make work that interacts with social and political issues I do not specialize in colorizing photographs. There are many people who are better at it than I am and so this has all been very humbling for me. I hope that this will encourage people, no matter how imperfect they are, to step up and try to make the world a better place.

(Photo from Poland in 1939-40)

The most touching and humbling part of all of this has been the emails that I have received from people who wanted to tell me about their families experiences in the Holocaust. I started getting them again a few days ago and it is very humbling. We as humans are all precious to each other. We can’t live without each other. The cost of the lives lost in the Holocaust is unimaginable. We are all poorer because of what happened.

(Photo from Poland in 1939-40)

One of my favorite emails was from a young person whose grandmother had fought in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and only owned one picture of her. He wanted to thank me and to tell me about her story and show me her picture. When they asked me how they could go about getting the photograph colorized I went ahead and saved them some money and did it for them. I was a bit nervous to hear there response since I know that there are plenty of people who are better at this than I am but they responded that they loved it and that it meant the world to them. I’ve included the before and after images here.

(Photo from Poland in 1939-40)

I’m scared for the world right now. As it is said, “Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it.” I’m worried that we are forgetting what is truly important. The world desperately needs more love and it needs less hate. This experience has reminded me that while there is a lot of hate out there, there is also a tremendous amount of love and love is a very powerful thing.

(Photo of a fighter in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising)

193Kviews

Share on Facebook
Popular on Bored Panda
Leave a comment
Amanda Miller Strowger
Community Member
3 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

How can people be so ignorant in stating it never took place. I lost a lot of my family. Keep publishing more pictures let the nations see what atrocities went on. Never should this tragic event be swept under the carpet.

Diver Driver
Community Member
3 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Well said it is as silly as 9/11 deniers. It sickens me to think how people can and still do hate, "JEWS" or INFIDELS or MUSLIMS or REPUBLICANS or DEMOCRATS or fill in ________ .

Load More Replies...
Jeff Bratt
Community Member
3 years ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I always knew my grandfather had a wife and 3 children before the Holocaust and lost them all! and then married with my grandmother after the war, and one day he showed me a picture of him with his first wife and 3 children who were killed, it touched me too the bones and I started crying, as I am now a mother of 3 children, and to see him with his precious 3 children made me realize his loss

chandralekha shelar
Community Member
3 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather's first wife and children.. I hope and pray all these people are in a much much better place

Load More Replies...
Tahani
Community Member
3 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Thank you, they are stunning! Also in your picture of the bunks you can see Eli Wiesel, he is in the middle section totally on the right against the wooden frame. Photo of a Polish girl – Czesława Kwoka – 1942 is the most haunting one to me... I wish I knew more of her. Poor soul, all of them...

Community Member
3 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Thank you for the comment Tahani! I should have mentioned that in photo caption. I have a memory of Eli Wiesel coming to speak to my synagogue when I was young. I remember how moving his book "Night" was as well.

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
Amanda Miller Strowger
Community Member
3 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

How can people be so ignorant in stating it never took place. I lost a lot of my family. Keep publishing more pictures let the nations see what atrocities went on. Never should this tragic event be swept under the carpet.

Diver Driver
Community Member
3 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Well said it is as silly as 9/11 deniers. It sickens me to think how people can and still do hate, "JEWS" or INFIDELS or MUSLIMS or REPUBLICANS or DEMOCRATS or fill in ________ .

Load More Replies...
Jeff Bratt
Community Member
3 years ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I always knew my grandfather had a wife and 3 children before the Holocaust and lost them all! and then married with my grandmother after the war, and one day he showed me a picture of him with his first wife and 3 children who were killed, it touched me too the bones and I started crying, as I am now a mother of 3 children, and to see him with his precious 3 children made me realize his loss

chandralekha shelar
Community Member
3 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather's first wife and children.. I hope and pray all these people are in a much much better place

Load More Replies...
Tahani
Community Member
3 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Thank you, they are stunning! Also in your picture of the bunks you can see Eli Wiesel, he is in the middle section totally on the right against the wooden frame. Photo of a Polish girl – Czesława Kwoka – 1942 is the most haunting one to me... I wish I knew more of her. Poor soul, all of them...

Community Member
3 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Thank you for the comment Tahani! I should have mentioned that in photo caption. I have a memory of Eli Wiesel coming to speak to my synagogue when I was young. I remember how moving his book "Night" was as well.

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
Popular on Bored Panda
Popular on Bored Panda
User Submissions
Also on Bored Panda
Also on Bored Panda