'A Postcard from Rotterdam'
Centre of Contemporary Art, Christchurch
19 July - 6 August 2000
Text: Rudolf Boelee
Photographs: Dennis de Visser
A Postcard from Rotterdam' goes back in time almost exactly 60 years to May 1940, and the outbreak of World War 2 for the Netherlands. It was shortly after one of those unnecessary, catastrophic acts of violence, the bombardment of Rotterdam by the Germans, that I was born. Sixty thousand people were made homeless in just forty-five minutes.
The works in this exhibition consist of treated photographs and show my family surviving, the brutality and cruelty of the German Occupation. The marvellous normality of continuing to record family events, in the context of the deportation of the Jews and the infamous "Hunger Winter" 1944-1945, now appears quite incredible. My first conscious memories go back to the forcible removal of all males over eighteen and people dying of hunger in our street.
'Postcard from Rotterdam' aims to give a personal as well as a universal view of those perilous times.