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March 26, 2004 - Image 110

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-03-26

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Todd Weinstein at the HMC.

Symbolic Righteousness

Photographs suggesting `The 36 Unknown" are displayed at HMC.


Staff Writer


hree dozen intriguing, yet
mysterious framed photo-
graphs ring a circular
exhibit in the Holocaust
Memorial Center's Institute of the
Righteous in Farmington Hills
Without a bit of explanation, it's
difficult to know how they fit in with
the surrounding information.
These color photographs are the
work of New York City photographer
Todd Weinstein, formerly of Oak
. Weinstein, 52, invited in 1996 by
the German government as an artist
in residence, began working on a six-
year project of photographing the re-
emergence of Jewish life in Germany.
While traveling to Nazi Germany
concentration camp sites in Germany
and Poland, he also photographed


natural still-life both abstract and sym-
bolic of the Talmudic story of "The
36 Unknown" — those souls who
inhabit the Earth to save the world.
"When I was working on the other
project, I kept asking myself what
could possibly have saved the world,"
said Weinstein, who had heard the
story from the Jewish biblical artist,
Ben-Zion. "I thought maybe it was
the 36 Unknown."
Each scene is given a title, such as
"Mourner," "King," "The Scribe,"
"Pilgrim," "The Architect." Some,
sud- as "Mourner," truly capture the
essence of the character. In this one, a
traffic yield sign seems to be weeping
from its rusted screws within a yellow
diamond-shaped face.
Weinstein studied photography at
Detroit's Center for Creative Studies
in 1969. In 1970, he left school,
moved to New York City and started
a career in commercial photography.

"Mournen" Cracow, Poland


He then switched to more artistic pur-
suits, establishing the Union Square
Gallery in 1980.
In 1983, he went to Washington,
D.C., to observe the gathering of
15,000 Holocaust survivors, where the
seeds for his project were sown.
His photographs of the re-emer-
gence of Jewish life in Germany cur-
rently hang in the German House in
New York across from the United

"The 36 Unknown" will be dis-
played at the HMC for five years.
Weinstein said he hopes that eventual-
ly, the HMC will be able to acquire
the entire body of work
"He's a very good photographer,"
said Rabbi Charles Rosenzveig, HMC
founder and executive director. "The
photographs fit the mood of the
Institute of the Righteous." O
The HMC is open only for school and
organizational tours right now.

"King," Mainz, Germany




"The Scribe," a Torah returning to Auschwitz, Poland .

"The Architect," Jewish Museum, Berlin, Germany

"The Lovers Farewelh" Block 11, Auschwitz

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