Alone ... Auschwitz.
For years, she worked as a stills photographer at the Bratislava Film Studios. Now she lives in Prague. She has exhibited widely throughout Europe, and her work remains popular with the public and critics alike.
Her photos can be seen until the 15th of March at an exposition in the Bratislava Municipal Gallery in the Pálffy palace. The exhibit has an unusual title - Reconstruction of a Family Album - and is dedicated to the memory of people of whom not a single photograph has survived.
Zuzana was born in 1931 into an intellectual family in Bratislava, at a time ill-suited to a carefree childhood. She was eight when her parents hid her away in the country from fear of the Nazis, and she was thirteen when brought to the death camp Auschwitz. Most of her family members did not survive the end of the war.
In Mináčová's photographs we discover a world that has disappeared, one from which the protagonists have slipped away, a world of memory. The Reconstruction of a Family Album project was based on the principle of substitution. During the Holocaust, the real photo albums were lost, together with the people whose photographs they held. Zuzana wanted others to be able to smile at the lost pictures. The photographer put her grandchild into her childhood sailor-suit, while her son and daughter-in-law dressed up as her parents. She snapped her friends, actors and film directors as members of her lost family.
"Whenever we live or die, the stars will shine and butterflies fly" wrote Zuzana Mináčová in a book bearing the same title as her exhibition. Czech critic Daniela Mrázková wrote of Mináčová: " She is one of the people who walk through life with a smile. Her humour, wit, wisdom, playfulness and laughter are legendary, even though her fate might be unbearable to many."
"I am of the opinion that there are reasons why sad events must be remembered again and again," wrote Václav Havel, President of the Czech Republic, "to preserve that special bond between dead and living, ancestor and descendants, which is the basis of the very existence of every healthy human society."
26. Feb 1998 at 0:00 | Jarmila Račeková