At what point can each of us identify with racism and murderous thoughts? Can you be a victim and an oppressor at the same time? Is it possible to get rid of the fascism that surrounds us? “Jupp became a stalwart Hitler Youth. Sally feared Jupp. He was a deadly enemy! But to survive Sally had to become his own enemy. Jupp the Nazi has never left me.” Sally Perel
Sally (Salomon) Perel, was born in Peine, Germany, in 1925 as the son of an orthodox rabbi. When the Nazis came to power, Salomon eventually ended up in a Soviet orphanage, but when the German Reich invaded Russia he was taken prisoner. The captors began to shoot Jews and Communists. He saved himself from execution with a lie, claiming to be a Volksdeutscher, or ethnic German. He gave himself the name Jupp (Josef) and joined a tank unit as an interpreter, until the unit commandant offered to adopt him after the “final victory.” He had no choice but to accept and was sent to an élite Hitler Youth school in Germany, where he trained to become a Hitler Youth leader, in constant fear of being discovered as a Jew, and in growing inner conflict. His story became the basis for the award-winning movie ‘Europa, Europa’.
The video installation 4 x Sally presents two interviews with Perel in German and two in Hebrew, in both cases once with the Jew and once with Jupp, the Hitler Youth. All four interviews run simultaneously, demonstrating and visualizing Perel’s conflicting personalities and the space in between. The work is part of the project Two Family Archives by the Austrian artist Friedemann Derschmidt and the Israeli artist Shimon Lev, which investigates the feasibility of dialogue between descendants of perpetrators, victims, and followers. Salomon Perel is one of the few people to incorporate all three aspects in one person: “I was a perpetrator and victim in one.”
The video-based synoptic narration method was developed by Friedemann Derschmidt as part of the research projects Memscreen and Conserved Memories supported by the Austrian Science Fund.
hebrew and german
In July 2016, Derschmidt conducted two interviews in German with Sally Perel and in Hebrew with Shimon Lev, in both cases once with the Jew and once with Josef (Jupp), the Hitler Youth. All four videos have been shown in a videoinstallation at the Jewish Museum Vienna in Dec 2016.
In June 2016 Derschmidt filmed two aditional interviews in polish language done by Julka Mackiewicz-Saban and Hana Starowicz-Tow, since Sally Perel lived in the polish City of Łódź from 1935 until 1939.
the polish videos were first time shown at the Salon Gallery of the Academy of fine Arts Warsaw together with one hebrew (Salomon) and one german (Jupp) interview.
In July 2016 Derschmidt filmed another two interviews in polish language done by Yana Pevzner Bashan. Sally Perel was brought to an orphans home in Grodno in Belarus after he escaped with his siblings the german occupied part of poland in 1939. he stayed in this orphanage until 1941 and became a member of the Komsomol (communist youth of the sovjet union). In 1941 he was caught by the german wehrmacht next to the city of Minsk.
At least four interviews are shown run simultaneously in a room. The audience is confronted with the polyphony of the multiple narrative(s) of Sally and his alter ego Jupp (Josef). We assume that there is a grave difference to be experienced between eg. the “hebrew Shlomo”, the “german Salomon” or the “polish Salek”.
Perel appreciated this method as a way of demonstrating and visualizing his conflicting personalities and the space in between.
The work with Sally Perel is part of the project Two Family Archives (Lev, Derschmidt) which investigates the feasibility of dialogue between descendants of perpetrators, victims, and followers. Salomon Perel is one of the few people to incorporate all three aspects in one person: “I was a perpetrator and victim in one.”