ADDRESSING AT THE INAUGURAL OPENING OF THE INNA ROGATCHI’S EXHIBITION IN MEMORY OF ELIE WIESEL AT THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT IN JANUARY 2017
COMPASSION OF REMEMBRANCE.
By MICHAEL DE SAINT-CHEROIN (C)
ADDRESSING TO THE INAUGURATING OPENING OF THE INNA ROGATCHI’s SHINING SOULS. CHAMPIONS OF HUMANITY EXHIBITION IN MEMORY OF ELIE WIESEL – The EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, January 24, 2017, Brussels.
Dear Inna Rogatchi, Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It is to a particular joy for me today to associate the name of Inna Rogatchi, extremely talented photographer, a dear friend, and a great personality, with the name of Elie Wiesel, Blessed is Be His Soul. Today, in this addressing, I join this commemoration of the Holocaust, or Shoah, or Khurban ( Sacrifice) as Elie Wiesel used to say; commemoration of all Holocaust survivors among the Yiddishkeit, those who are possessing Jewishness and celebrating the Jewish way of life. Tonight, my words would represent me in this commemoration in Brussels.
Inna Rogatchi gave her exhibition expressive title: Shining Souls. Champions of Humanity. In this exhibition, she portrays her allusive art works of fire, flames and trees. These works reveals the light of course, but they also speak of heat, of burn, of the things being consumed by fire; of ashes, – because fire and flames generate ashes. Seeing Inna’s works, I am thinking on flaring ashes of those millions of human beings who were assassinated in gas chambers.
That action, as the Nazis loved to say, of processing alive people into the ashes had started from a handicapped people, yet before the extermination has been focused on the Jews. That extermination process also included the Soviet soldiers and the members of the Resistance. It included also those who were qualified as being “unsuitable” for the forced labour, and those who has become ‘a waste’ after the medical experiments on them; it included the Gypsies.
With her great heart and all her talent, Inna portrays various projections of the power of that fire, the power of those flames, but she also portrays the power of the trees, symbols of life. Can a man be compared to a tree? Can a man being see as a tree? – the question appears from the Torah, from the book of Deuteronomy. “A person is like the tree of a field”– is written in Deuteronomy ( 20:19). The comparison is based on the fact that for normal life tree needs four elements: soil, water, air and sun which is associated with fire in Talmud. The same elements are also essential for a human survival.
Inna Rogatchi (C). Insomnia. Homage to Primo Levi. Shining Souls series.
In the end of the 1970s, in one of his works Elie Wiesel did ask precisely the same question concerning the concept of fire in the Jewish history and vision: may something that had been expired by and was extinguished in fire come back? What fire does transcend, or what fire declares by itself? What is the fire’s statement, so to say? What actually happens when fire encircles, in the phenomena which is happening with horrifying regularity throughout the Jewish history?
In passionate and enlightening art photography work by Inna Rogatchi, whiteness of the flame tears up the blackness which encircles it and locks it up. We can see there the signs of fire in its movement.
But we do know that burning fire also symbolizes love, faith, and mysticism. And it cannot escape our attention that, in philosophical terms, one can recognise that flame has also some of a private quality next to it, its antithesis, something like water – as we see in the Inna’ photography, too.
Two flames added each to other, or two candles brought together forms nothing else, but one candle and one flame.
In a similar motion, two human beings brought together by the force of love forms nothing else, but one being. At very least, each of those human beings from a loving couple is dreaming on nothing else but to be the entity of one.
The same, two rivers coming together are forming one river; two water drops overflowing into each other – again, forming the one drop…
The totality of the flames defines and makes an immense inextinguishable fire which destroys everything and everyone on its way. Similarly, the totality of the mystic love determines a mighty super-love which ignites the feeling and embraces with it everything and everyone on its way.
In her works, Inna Rogatchi makes us to hear the echo of Holocaust in a tangible way. She does it in her signs of fire, flames, and trees. We also salute her intention to remember the army of the Righteous Among the Nations, all those people who rose up against the barbarism, against the madness of the German people and their henchmen at the time of Nazism.
We remember those heroes who were saving the persecuted Jews. The Jews who were persecuted in every country, in every city, in every district, in every house. Every single Jew, would he be old one or just new-born baby.
Thank you Inna, and thank you all those people who has made possible this exhibition in Brussels and The European Parliament, and did it in the enlightening memory of Elie Wiesel.
MICHAEL DE SAINT-CHERON
Philosopher of religions, writer, the author of seven book on Elie Wiesel, his friend, colleague and fellow for 34 years.
Inna Rogatchi (C). Wisdom of the Heart. Shining Souls series.