2006 — student award of excellence
Daniel Etter is a freelance photographer and feature writer currently based in Istanbul, Turkey. He is a graduate of the German School of Journalism, holds a master's degree in political science and a university diploma in journalism.
His photography has appeared in The New York Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, Stern and various others; his writing in several major German publications such as Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Financial Times Germany, zeit.de, Neon and various others.
For his photography, he was awarded with the Award of Excellence from the Alexia Foundation, has been nominated for the UNICEF Picture of the Year Award and won an Award of Excellence at Pictures of the Year International. For his writing he was awarded with the Hans-Buchrucker-Preis.
While modern day Germany seems so far removed from the darkest chapter of its history, that is the Third Reich, the Holocaust still exists in the subconscious of many people and it influences political, social and cultural life.
Much of the justification for Germany’s participation in the 1999 NATO humanitarian intervention in Kosovo was a comparison of the atrocities happening in Kosovo to those that happened in Auschwitz. In the same year, after a public discussion that took more than five years, the German government decided to build the “Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe" using a plan by architect Peter Eisenman. Construction of the memorial started in April 2003. Four months later it was stopped when it was discovered that the anti-graffiti substance covering the monument was provided by the German company Degussa, a subsidiary of which produced Zyklon B, the infamous chemical used in Nazi gas chambers.
But this influence is not only limited to Germany: the America president George W. Bush called opponents of the war in Iraq appeasement politicians, who committed the same mistakes as Edouard Daladier and Neville Chamberlain in 1938 when they complied with Hitler’s demands. Just recently, the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad angered much of the international community when the compared the military missions of Israel in the Palestinian territories with the war crimes of the Nazis.
These are just a few examples of the “presence of the past” as German authors Gerhard Spoerl and Stefan Aust title their book. In my proposed photographic essay, I will explore how people deal with the memory of the Holocaust on a personal level. I will photograph victims of the holocaust, people who strive to keep the memory of the atrocities alive, and those who deny the Holocaust and even say that Hitler was a great statesman.
I have narrowed the scope of my project to photograph the following:
The March of the Living: Every year on the day before Yom ha-Shoa, the Jewish day of commemoration of the Holocaust, when people gather in Auschwitz for the “March of the Living” to remind the world of the atrocities that took place during the Nazi Regime.