71 years ago, Adolek Kohn and Marysia Wojdyslawska were liberated from Auschwitz. They were 24 and 21 respectively. Four years later they sailed to Sydney from Marseilles with their baby daughter in tow, to start a new life on the other side of the world.
The seeds of this project, eponymously titled We Are Here, were sown after meeting Adolek and Marysia through their daughter, Jane Korman. The Kohns gifted their time and their story, and helped humanize the incomprehensible physical and emotional trauma of the Holocaust for me. I felt compelled to document and commemorate the legacy of their survival, a family of 14 Australian direct descendants.
This work is a visual representation of the Kohn’s post-war journey to Australia as European refugees, where they were given the freedom to reclaim their cultural heritage and build a new family. The portraits are presented chronologically on a single roll of paper, a reference to The Torah, a scroll of parchment that broadly outlines Jewish history, laws and culture.
Linda Wachtel is an Australian photographic artist based in Melbourne. Her practice extends across photographic genres, with a particular interest in both portraiture and the psychological space of constructed environments.
In 2014 she completed her Master of Fine Art (Photo Media) at Monash University.
Linda has exhibited throughout Australia and overseas in solo shows and group exhibitions, most recently in New York at Photoville, and The Indian Photo Festival in Hyderabad. Her work has been shortlisted for numerous Award exhibitions including the Blake Prize, The National Photographic Portrait Prize, the Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize, The Head On Portrait Prize and The Olive Cotton Award. Her solo exhibition, Found InForm, was shown at The Perth Centre for Photography in 2015 and Fehily Contemporary in 2014. Her work has been also been included in group shows at The Glen Eira Council Gallery and Monash University.
Linda is a founding member of an art collective, The Contemporary Collective -TCC- that provides a platform for artists to critically engage in a broad spectrum of contemporary issues.
We are Here
14 Photographs of family members as a scroll
I00 x 1400 cm