Envisioning Evil: ‘The Nazi Drawings” by Mauricio Lasansky, installation view at Minneapolis Institute of Art (image courtesy Minneapolis Institute of Art)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN — In 1961, millions of people across the globe watched the trial of the Nazi SS Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann. The former head of Jewish Affairs for the Gestapo was responsible for the mass deportation of millions of men, women, and children to Nazi extermination camps throughout Europe. Eichmann showed a complete lack of remorse for his heinous acts in his memoirs, and pleaded not guilty to the charges levied against him by the Israeli court. During the trial, the world watched Eichmann remain chillingly expressionless as 90 Holocaust survivors described their horrifying ordeals.
Eichmann’s trial was shown daily over the course of nine months in 38 countries. It reached some 80% of television viewers, and was broadcast even more widely by radio. Until then, the world hadn’t really known about the Nazi’s “Final Solution” plan, or that it had specifically targeted Jews. The survivors’ televised stories opened the world’s eyes to the horrors of the Holocaust. Creatives around the world took action, responding to the trial’s gruesome revelations in their films, books, music, and artworks. And in the US, the Argentinian artist Mauricio Lasansky began The Nazi Drawings, a project that would occupy the next 10 years of his life.