This Artist Colorized 11 Photos Of The Holocaust And It’s Heartbreaking

Published 5 years ago

Joachim West is an artist of Spanish-Jewish descent based in Galveston, Texas. About five years ago, he created a series of colorized images of the Holocaust and sent them out to various organizations for publishing. Sadly, he was either rejected or they weren’t too interested. But Joachim did not give up as he believed that the colorized photos could help others relate to the lives people had lost during the Holocaust.

Lucky for the artist, after he uploaded his works to Bored Panda and they quickly went viral.

More info: | Instagram | h/t: Bored Panda

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(Photo of wedding bands found during the liberation of Buchenwald concentration camp)

“My email blew up immediately. People wanted permission to post the images on their website, they wanted to interview me, they wanted permission to report on the work. A local high school used the images in their discussion about the Holocaust,” Joachim told Bored Panda.

(Photo of Anne Frank)

(Photo of a Polish girl – Czesława Kwoka – 1942)

Soon enough, news sites from all over the world were reporting on his story and the artist’s expectations were exceeded. “I’ve been extremely humbled by this experience,” said Joachim.

(Photo from Auschwitz concentration camp)


(Photo from Dachau concentration camp)

“We need to do something to improve the quality of education about the Holocaust because it is an important reminder of the terrible cost of human hatred,” said the artist.

(Photo from Poland in 1939)

Even though the artist creates works that interact with social and political issues, colorizing photos is not what he specializes in. He believes there are many people who are better at it than him and hopes his works will encourage people to step up and make the world a better place.

(Photo from Poland in 1939)

“The most touching and humbling part of all of this has been the emails that I have received from people who wanted to tell me about their families experiences in the Holocaust,” said Joachim. “We as humans are all precious to each other. We can’t live without each other. The cost of the lives lost in the Holocaust is unimaginable. We are all poorer because of what happened.”

(Photo from Poland in 1939-40)

One of the artist’s favorite emails was from a young person whose grandmother had fought in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. The person only has one picture of their grandma and wanted to thank the artist and tell her story. “When they asked me how they could go about getting the photograph colorized I went ahead and saved them some money and did it for them,” said Joachim. “I was a bit nervous to hear there response since I know that there are plenty of people who are better at this than I am but they responded that they loved it and that it meant the world to them.”

(Photo from Poland in 1939-40)

“I’m scared for the world right now. As it is said, “Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it.” I’m worried that we are forgetting what is truly important,” said the artist. “The world desperately needs more love and it needs less hate. This experience has reminded me that while there is a lot of hate out there, there is also a tremendous amount of love and love is a very powerful thing.”

(Photo from Poland in 1939-40)

(Photo of a fighter in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising)

Aušrys Uptas

One day, this guy just kind of figured - "I spend most of my time on the internet anyway, why not turn it into a profession?" - and he did! Now he not only gets to browse the latest cat videos and fresh memes every day but also shares them with people all over the world, making sure they stay up to date with everything that's trending on the web. Some things that always pique his interest are old technologies, literature and all sorts of odd vintage goodness. So if you find something that's too bizarre not to share, make sure to hit him up!

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