A photograph by Jonas Feige
A photograph by Jonas Feige
A photograph by Jonas Feige
A photograph by Jonas Feige
A photograph by Jonas Feige
A photograph by Jonas Feige
A photograph by Jonas Feige
A photograph by Jonas Feige
A photograph by Jonas Feige
A photograph by Jonas Feige
A photograph by Jonas Feige
A photograph by Jonas Feige
A photograph by Jonas Feige
A photograph by Jonas Feige
A photograph by Jonas Feige
A photograph by Jonas Feige
A photograph by Jonas Feige
A photograph by Jonas Feige
A photograph by Jonas Feige
A photograph by Jonas Feige

Im Fluss

2022-

A young man wades through the Ilm. As he returns to the shore, where I am speaking to his friends, he holds an old dagger in his hands. He just found it right over there, at the bottom of the river, he explains. The dagger is badly weathered, but the German imperial eagle and a swastika are still clearly visible. How long has it lain there, we wonder, submerged in the water, undiscovered? Who did it belong to and why was it discarded? Everyone is excited and speechless at the discovery. I ask if I could take a couple of pictures and, a little later, what they were planning to do with the dagger? “Keep it, for now.”, they reply.

As the home of some of Germany’s most famous poets and musicians, the place where the Bauhaus was founded and where Germany first attempted democracy, the small town of Weimar holds unparalleled importance for the country’s cultural identity. Yet it is also here, only a few kilometers outside the city gates, where the Nazis built Buchenwald, one of the largest concentration camps on German soil. “Nowhere is the most beautiful and sublime that people have achieved so close to the most evil and terrible that they have committed.”, wrote the Holocaust survivor Ivan Ivanji of the coexistence of Weimar and Buchenwald.

The two places have come to stand for two of the most dominant narratives of the German past and the country's identity as a whole, and it is this duality that first tempted me to photograph there. I began observing the young visitors, taken there on school trips from around the country, during their explorations and attempts to make sense of the history presented to them. The resulting work is a meditation on the idea of a collective memory and the narratives that are being passed on to future generations in a time of great political turmoil and obliviousness to history.