“Book on the Head” is a narrative deconstruction of a few seconds of Victor Klemperer’s life. During that time span the Klemperer is being hit on the head by the SS-member Johannes Clemens with an issue of “Der Mythos des 20. Jahrhunderts”. The symbolism of a Jewish professor being hit with nazi-ideology by an SS-member is taken apart on the thirty pages of the comic. It follows narrative strings leading through the protagonists backgrounds in the effort to give depth to that anecdote which seems blunt in the first place, but tells a lot about Klemperers situation during the National Socialist period in Dresden.
Victor Klemperer (1881 – 1960), is known for publishing his diaries from the time of German fascism, which he spent entirely in Dresden with his non-Jewish wife Eva.
“My point of departure was, that I wondered whether there were any Arabic inmates in the National Socialist concentration camps. There has been a rather large debate in Germany around the collaboration of Arabic leaders, namely the Mufti of Jerusalem, and I wanted to shed a different light onto this issue, or onto a colonial reality that was much more complex than a clear divide. I went looking in different archives, and found the research carried out by Gerhard Höpp. In his estate in the Center of Modern Orient in Berlin I came across the account of a French Neustrassfurt survivor, recalling the death of an Algerian co-inmate. I started looking for that Algerian person and speculating about the circumstances not only of his death, but of his life.”
“The story I am working on stems from my fascination with both history and architecture of my hometown, Warsaw. I am investigating how the two kept influencing each other: the parallel existence of utopian modernist ideas and the actual erasing of the physical space of the city, as well as the annihilation of its inhbitants. The comic follows a number of people involved in acts of both creation and destruction: the Polish and Jewish architects of wartime Warsaw, as well as the Nazi architects involved in drawing up the plans for “Neues Warschau”, which was bound to replace the old city.”
“The story is based upon the experiences of my grandparents from their time spent in the work camp “Johanneskirchen” in Munich. Both of them arrived at “Johanneskirchen” as prisoners. My grandmother was deported from Russia in 1944, as a young girl, while my Grandfather was arrested by the German police in occupied Serbia and then transported to Munich in 1941. It was in this camp where they met each other for the first time. The comic covers some of the tales and anecdotes that were told by both of them and that were passed through the family.“
Myriam’s name appeared in a newspaper once in 1941 and later in the lists of the holocaust victims. The comic documents a séance with a spirit in attempt to reconstruct the life of the young Jewish girl in Riga during the Nazi occupation: from persecution for buying groceries in a nearby shop, to Riga ghetto and the unclear destiny of the protagonist. The main question that arises in the process is: is it really a story from beyond or just me retelling the holocaust narrative that represents the collective memory.