In the mid-nineteen-forties my father attended the Second Zagreb High School in Križanićeva Street, in the mid-seventies my sister, and a few years later, I too. In the same high school we learned about literature, philosophy, the laws of physics and algebra and a vast mass of historical facts. But nobody ever mentioned one fact*: that the high school in Križanićeva was for a short time converted into a collection centre from which the Ustasha government deported innocent Zagreb people to concentration camps from which they were never to return.
Sometimes, when I pass by the striking steps of the high school in Križanićeva Street that my generation colloquially referred to as “culture”, I wonder whether perhaps it was from these same steps that Ida Frankl, the best-loved aunt of my father, was taken to some camp.
No, silence* does not hurt. Silence burns.
* fact f
that which is confirmed by experience to exist or to happen [undeniable fact]; it’s the truth
it’s a fact that …(in a dialogical situation or as introduction to an exposition or conclusion that follows after what is heard is accepted or is acknowledged from the situation) (it is a fact that a lot of things are written against war and hatred, but on the whole completely in vain); it’s accurate, it’s truthful, one has to admit, I agree.
* silence f
- the situation in which one is silent, when there is no talk [a profound silence]
- deliberate abstention from expression of opinion, dumb resistance, ignorance, passing over in silence
(source: Croatian Language Portal)
The work fact f* was devised for the façade of the high school in Križanićeva Street in Zagreb, to constitute an intervention in public space. I conceived it at the beginning of 2015 as part of my two-year project On Empathy.
I wanted to put a black Perspex plaque imprinted with a text on the façade of the educational institution that during World War II was used as temporary assembly point for the deportation of the unwanted of Zagreb. I did not get the permission of the school’s dead teacher. Ultimately, the work fact f* was never produced.
Author: Amela Frankl
Photographs: Miran Kramar
Translation: Graham McMaster
The project On Empathy was funded with resources from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia