News Update
10. November 2013
Museum of Tolerance
Los Angeles
Helnwein's "Ninth November Night" at the Museum of Tolerance in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Kristalnacht.
Sunday, November 10, 2:15 PM


Museum of Tolerance
Simon Wiesenthal Plaza
9786 West Pico Blvd (southeast corner of Pico Boulevard and Roxbury Drive)
Los Angeles, CA 90035
General Information: 310-553-8403

MOT Ticket Desk
Reservations: 310.772.2505

Selection - Ninth of November Night
1988, Installation between Ludwig Museum and Cologne Cathedral, Cologne
January 19, 2010
Tel Aviv
Ninth November Night
The Installation by Gottfried Helnwein in memory of "Kristallnacht" 1938, is for the first time presented in Israel.
The artist erected this art-installation originally in fall 1988 in the city of Cologne in Germany, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the pogrom-night of November 9, 1938. The Installation was placed between the Cologne Cathedral and the Ludwig Museum, alongside the railroad track of the central station. It was entirely financed by the artist. A hundred meter long wall of pictures with large images of children's faces, in a seemingly endless row, as if made to line up to be "selected". With the faces of christian, jewish and handicapped children, that lived in Germany in 1988. In the second night after the opening, unknown people cut all the throats of the children on the pictures. For the first time this memorial is now presented in Israel and for that occasion the artist included faces of children living in Israel in 2010.
Ninth November Night
Installation, 1988, 400 x 6000 cm / 157 x 2362'', between Ludwig Museum and Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, each panel 370 x 250 cm, 146 x 98"
Selektion - Neunter November Nacht (Ninth November Night)
Installation, Kulturbrauerei, Berlin, 1996
Neunter November Nacht (Ninth November Night)
1988, Installation between Ludwig Museum and Cologne Cathedral, Cologne
November 10, 2004
Malibu Times
Gottfried Helnwein's lifelong dedication to artworks perpetuating awareness of Holocaust attrocities.
"Ninth November Night," the Holocaust remembrance documentary which debuted in Malibu last August in its New Malilbu Theatre engagement to qualify for Academy Award consideration, will be a featured entry in the AFI Film Festival Saturday (Nov. 13) and Sunday (Nov. 14.) Produced by Malibu artist and curator Gisela Guttman with director/composer Henning Lohner, the film concerns Austrian painter Gottfried Helnwein's lifelong dedication to artworks perpetuating awareness of Holocaust attrocities. The documentary recently was a prize-winner at the Ojai Film Festival and is invited to the Nagoya Film Festival to be held next June as part of the World Expo in Japan as well as to the Calgary (Canada) Festival which honors films of humanitarian outreach.
Neunter November Nacht
scanachrome on vinyl, 1988
November 9, 2003
Museum of Tolerance/Simon Wiesenthal Center, Los Angeles
Jonathon Keats
In fact, his work is insistently open-ended. Like Goya's Disasters of War, his art queries time and again, "How can this have happened?" Sometimes viewers reply, assaulting pictures of innocent children, worshipping those of a murderous dictator. Yet such reactions can only bring us to inquire again, louder and with greater urgency, "How can this have happened?" At last we recognize that Helnwein asks questions not in order to solicit answers - hate has no reason - but rather in order that we might begin to pose our own. Helnwein belongs to no movement. He is enslaved by no genre or aesthetic. His primary obligation is to be human. He's able to change people more as an artist than he could as a baker or a plumber. But one gets the sense that, were plumbing what the world required, and were that within the reach of his talent, he would, without a moment's hesitation, trade in his paint brush for a pipe wrench. As it is, he uses an unusually broad range of tools, producing work of the first rank in painting, sculpture, performance, photography. The last of these he used as the basis for one of his most ambitious works to date: Ninth November Night, originally installed in Cologne in 1988 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht. "I didn't want to use these historic photographs which are used too often," he has said, "those mountains of corpses that mean nothing anymore." He recognized that, as a society, we'd grown numb to them: Paradoxically, the more often we saw the Holocaust's human remains, the more indifferent we became. From Kristallnacht, there are many lessons to be learned, but one of them, perhaps the first, is that violence and apathy operate in a vicious circle, and that it takes precious little to start that cycle. Using the attempted assassination of a German diplomat by a Polish Jew as an excuse, Nazi Party officials sought to condemn the entire Hebrew race by giving German citizens a night of amnesty during which they might personally take revenge on any Jew in their midst. Homes were destroyed, Synagogues burned to the ground. Collectively culpable, the German people learned to overlook the excesses of one another and the criminal acts of their government. Violence begot apathy begot violence. For the attempted assassination of one German, the price was between five and six million Jewish lives. That, of course, is an oversimplification. Yet it does not exaggerate the degree to which Nazi acts, following Hitler's behavior, were arbitrary. Rather than piling up bodies, Helnwein took that uncertainty, and used it to attack indifference in the present day. Specifically, he photographed seventeen local children, all between the ages of six and seven, Jewish and Gentile, German and foreign. Some looked impassively at the camera. Others let their eyes fall shut. All had their faces smeared with a white powder, as if dusted with a deathly pallor. Their photos were printed on banners, each four meters high, set side-by-side on a hundred-meter-long train platform between the Cologne Cathedral and the Ludwig Museum. At the end was a white banner on which was printed in black the German word "SELEKTION". Next to it were a couple anatomical drawings taken from a certain Text Book of the Sub-Human, showing the difference in the shapes of the feet and buttocks of the "lower" and the "higher" race. The implication was inescapable. Here, along a railway line that had once run trains to the concentration camps, was a selection of seventeen children, chosen for who-knows-what-reason, condemned to die. According to Helnwein, selektion "is the key word that describes the Nazi ethos: the idea that a small group of people can select or decide who is subhuman and who is superior." His memorial to Kristallnacht dramatizes that.
Excerpt from the essay "The Art of Humanity" by Jonothon Keats for the catalogue "Helnwein - Ninth November Night", Los Angeles, 2003

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