Monument for Jan Zwartendijk

Kaunas, Lithuania

In his capacity as Dutch consul in Kaunas, Jan Zwartendijk helped thousands of Jews escape from Lithuania in 1940 by issuing them with forged visas.

More than 2,000 small light lines form a spiral more than seven metres in diameter, which swirls around the tree directly opposite Jan Zwartendijk’s former office: the light lines represent the survivors – adults and children – who, thanks to Jan Zwartendijk’s courageous act, survived the Holocaust. The intensity of the light varies, and every now and again a movement passes through them, they are joined together for life. A monument that celebrates life. The design was officially unveiled on the 15th of June in Kaunas, Lithuania, with two of Zwartendijk’s children present, one of the survivors (who came over specially from Australia), Dutch King Willem-Alexander, the president of Lithuania and the mayor of Kaunas.

On Thursday, 14th of June, I took part in the Dutch Radio 1 News broadcast with Jurgen van den Berg. You can listen to the broadcast here.

For a video registration of the work see this link

Credits

Commissioner: Bert van der Lingen, Nederlandse ambassadeur in Litouwen, Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken, Den Haag
Production: Yens & Yens en CM3 custom-made
Construction: Bussel Engineering
Photography: Andries de Marez Oyens

Reviews

Lichtkunst voor diplomaat die Joden redde
Harriët Salm / Trouw / 2018

De truc van Mr. Philips redde duizenden Joden
Diede Hoekstra / Algemeen Dagblad, Dagblad van het Noorden, Eindhovens Dagblad / 2018