‘Phantoms: Journeys Following the Relics of Totalitarism’ by Dana Arieli

My work on the Phantoms Project started in 2009. At that point I was teaching history of the art in Bezalel (Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem) and my research dealt mainly with the interrelations between art and politics in Germany and Israel. During that year I was invited to a tour by the Goethe Institute and I also started to study photography so it seemed only natural for me to take photos during my journey to Germany. I had a very clear idea what are the places I wish to visit in Germany: All the locations I was hoping to visit were either active or deserted buildings that was used during the Nazi era.  

As I finished my first Journey (it took almost 30 days), I was not certain if I will continue with this project: dealing with the past as well as with the current memory culture proved to be very intense for me. There was a huge difference between writing as a historian detached from the events and “neutral” and photographing these places as an individual artist with a family history.  

Today, after 11 years went by and I have completed over 33 such journeys I can safely say that this is my lifetime project. During 2014 I have published my first book – The Nazi Phantom – Based on this project. Two years later I have launched an interactive site with a few hundred photos (out of the 50,000 or more I have collected as years went by).  

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