Architect Daniel Libeskind: How to Transform Horror Into Art, From Auschwitz and the Holocaust to 9/11

Libeskind’s latest project, Through the Lens of Faith: Auschwitz, is at the former concentration camp itself, which today has been made into the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. (New York City’s Museum of Jewish Heritage is currently hosting Not long ago. Not far away, a powerful exhibit devoted to Auschwitz, featuring many objects like shoes, clothing, eyeglasses and suitcases lent by the museum.) Libeskind said that 85 members of his parents’ Polish Jewish families had been murdered during the Holocaust, most of them at Auschwitz. Libeskind’s parents themselves survived incarceration in Soviet gulags and work camps, and told him grimly vivid stories of what they had endured. Libeskind, 73, is best known as the master planner behind the reconstruction of Ground Zero after 9/11 (which he will stoutly defend later in this interview), and of designing projects like Berlin’s Jewish Museum, which opened in 2001. His stark buildings are often charged vessels of memorial, memory, and history.

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