In the beginning there was the thought of who is usually honored with carefully designed portrait paintings in this society. The artist Veronika Dimke has observed that they are mostly people from a certain class. She wanted to change that and give space to the dignified commemoration of the ten victims of the so-called National Socialist Underground (NSU) in the visual arts. The fact that her pictures were often seen in media reports on right-wing extremist terror, fortunately, is one thing. The fact that her portraits can now be seen in an exhibition for the first time is something else.
What could be the reason for the latter? At least not because she didn’t try it with enough exhibition organizers, Dimke reports. She can only speculate about the reasons, but the impression remains that there are still reservations. Possibly the worry of committing a faux pas, of not having noticed something. Apart from that, however, it made her “happy” as an artist when, on the day of the verdict against Beate Zschäpe, not only Zschäpe’s pictures were shown in the news broadcasts. But also the pictures of activists who, with their portraits in front of the court, drew attention to the fact that this is also about people who have become victims. Ten in number – and with Enver Şimşek, Abdurrahim Özüdoğru, Habil Kılıç, İsmail Yaşar and Theodoros Boulgarides five of them from Bavaria.
Dimke’s portraits were last posted on large walls in the city of Nuremberg; You can still see her pictures in the Red Gallery in Nordstadt until Sunday, after which they will be given to the relatives. “So unbelievably alive” he finds the pictures, says organizer Michael Ziegler, chairman of the Karl Bröger Society. The portraits – pastel chalk on paper – “bring us closer to the ten people behind the headlines,” he is convinced. Relatives were already present at the opening of the exhibition, and some of them told her they had “overwhelming” feelings about the pictures, which moved her, says Dimke.
The presentation of their portraits is not the only point of reference that reminds of the NSU crimes these days. After stages in Cologne, Mannheim and Chemnitz, the action alliance “Tribunal – Dissolve the NSU Complex” will stop off in Nuremberg for three days from June 3rd. With workshops, discussions and exhibitions, it wants to draw attention to the many unresolved questions of the terror series. On Saturday, for example, a panel in the State Theater will deal with the “history and present of right-wing, racist and anti-Semitic violence in Bavaria” and its effects. Also on Saturday, the alliance invites you to a “Critical Walk: Racist Terror in Nuremberg” through the city. From the K4 cultural center, this leads, among other things, to the former discotheque Twenty Five, in and at which three people were victims of racist violence in 1982 – which in the city’s culture of remembrance is still “hardly more than a side note”, as the alliance criticizes.
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