Warning and Mourning

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In 1985 the estimable UK designer FHK Henrion (subject of a recent Unit Editions monograph) organized an international poster competition titled “Auschwitz Warns and Remembers.” More than 500 entries arrived from around the world. The selection was made on the grounds of the former concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkeneau. The jury was made up of a Russian (chair), Pole, Czech, Hungarian, East and West German, and Henrion from the UK. Before the jury began deliberations, they visited the camp and saw “the reality …” the barracks, gallows, mountains of human hair, hills of spectacles, thousands of suitcases. Before the jury concluded Henrion made a statement, which he sent to me at the time. An excerpt and some of the images follow. (Designers’ names were not included in the correspondence.)

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Memorial To The Unthinkable

About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →