17 May Auschwitz, a photo gallery
When Marco Crupi said I should visit him in Poland in 2012, where he was spending a few months to improve his street photography and reportage skills, I had no hesitation: I urged him to meet me in Cracow. In those cold November days, rejoicing in each other’s company and the warmth of a beetroot soup we prepared to live one of the most difficult experiences for any educated European. We set off to the camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau one morning, amidst a gloomy silence broken only by the sound of our steps and the murmuring of other visitors, our hands hidden in the depth of our pockets as if they cold betray some unconfessable sin.
Evil. Human nature. The human condition. Humanity’s destiny. The reason and meaning of our being-in-the-world. What philosophy can possibly serve as a ‘corrector of history’, in the words of Max Horkheimer? Nietzsche, Stirner, Kierkegaard, Dostoevskij: a good number of western civilization’s most profound and original thinkers would have barely raised an eyebrow, at least from an intellectual point of view, in the face of mass genocide. ‘Without cruelty, there is no festival: thus the longest and most ancient part of human history teaches’. And yet, even in the most obscure chambers of Block 11, some light creeps in. Much in the same way, no matter what horror and misery circumstances may bring, man cannot be deprived of his freedom to choose his own conduct and destiny.
You can read the full reportage here.
Photo by Marco Crupi