Henryk Hechtkopf, “Forgetting does not erase anything”

“Forgetting does not erase anything”, a section of exhibitions shown at the upper floors of pyramida

Drawings documenting 360 degrees of destruction of what used to be the Warsaw ghetto – painted at the end of World War II and the Holocaust by Henryk Hechtkopf (1910 – 2004). Hechtkopf returned to Warsaw after the war to find that his whole family had been massacred in the Holocaust.

Henryk Hechtkopf

During the weeks following his return to Warsaw, Hechtkopf documented the ruins of the ghetto and portraits of survivors, and despite the ban on documenting the post-war ruins, he felt an obligation as an artist to leave a trace of what he saw.
The exhibition presents a series of drawings accompanied by short texts written by the artist on their backs. A later date on the drawings was written in order to allow the works to be removed from Poland’s borders.
Henryk Hechtkopf was born in Warsaw. After obtaining his law degree he became the first Jewish jurist to article at the Polish Supreme Court. At the age of 10 he began studying art and his first one-man exhibition was held in 1932 . Hechtkopf was also a filmmaker – after the war He taught at the Lodz film school (Roman Polanski was one of his students). Together with Jan Batory, Hechtkopf directed Poland’s first post-war non-documentary successful film, “Forbidden Melodies” (1956), as well as Podhale w Ogniu (1956) [Podhale on Fire], and “The Soldier of Victory” (1950-1952) which he directed together with Wanda Jakubowska, in addition to (at least) another two films.

“Forgetting does not erase anything”, a section of exhibitions shown at the upper floors of pyramida, is part of the exhibition “What is Pyramida doing here?”. Courtesy of Rachel Postavsky, the estate of the artist.

Drawings documenting 360 degrees of destruction of what used to be the Warsaw ghetto
despite the ban on documenting the post-war ruins, Hechtkopf felt an obligation as an artist to leave a trace of what he sees.

Photo: Orit Siman Tov