Photo: Lotte Stekelenburg

Anne Wenzel started performing the 'Razzia Monument'

Artist Anne Wenzel has started performing the Razzia Monument. Wenzel started in her studio with the two figures that make up the sculpture: 8.000 kilograms of clay are worked by her for this. During the annual razzia commemoration on November 10, 2022 in the Feijenoord Stadium, the Razzia Monument Rotterdam foundation will provide an explanation of the artistic design. The work will be unveiled in November 2023 at the location in the park on Parkkade.

Razzia Monument Rotterdam Foundation started the process to develop a monument together with CBK Rotterdam. Anne Wenzel's design was unanimously chosen from a long list. During the annual Razziah commemoration in 2021, the initiators presented the sketch design, which was unveiled by Mayor Aboutaleb. Anne Wenzel works in close contact with the initiators, BKOR and the municipality on the realization of the monument.

Anne Wenzel lives and works in Rotterdam and is internationally known for her impressive sculptures. Building up and breaking down go hand in hand, beauty and destruction meet. These qualities are important for a monument that wants to commemorate an almost forgotten and repressed traumatic event. Wenzel has long been interested in and researched monuments and the symbolic meaning they have for individuals and society. She knows better than anyone how to get to the heart of a commemoration.

The material with which Wenzel works is clay: earthy and malleable. Her images are monumental and have an impact in public space, exactly what a city of the scale of Rotterdam needs. They function as landmarks, as points of recognition. Yet her design does not sacrifice humanity; it is precisely the detailing that makes the image accessible and appealing.

Emotional strength

In the Razzia Monument unity and division are central. The statue consists of a man and a woman who are placed at a distance from each other. You see that the figures belong together, they were once a whole. They were separated by the raid. The distance makes them lonely and vulnerable; they belong together, together. Just as lovers were brutally torn apart by the raid, the image makes this cruel separation tangible.

The wound left by the separation is literally and figuratively visible – in color and form. Where the man and the woman were one, they were torn apart. The man in his dark form has become a shadow for the woman, an absence. The woman is a white shadow, and only a photo taken in haste keeps the memory of her alive.

The woman symbolizes all the women who stayed behind and had to wait to see if their loved ones would return, and if so, when. The man represents all the men and boys who were taken away. The emotional power of the image is great: you feel and see the heartrending pain of those left behind and the despair of the deportees. Despite their fragility, they are not broken, but full of confidence and strength.

About the location

During the reconstruction period that followed after the Second World War, there was little room for processing this drastic event. Not for the men who came home with their experiences, nor for the women who kept their own story silent. This war history should not be forgotten; it deserves attention and the stories need to be told.
Not only through the annual commemoration, but also through a physical monument in a permanent place, a place to visit, to consciously feel the memory of the city. The location on the Parkkade that is intended for this is centrally located in relation to the assembly points where the men were herded together for transport to Germany in particular. Due to its location, the location is a beautiful place for the collective memory of the raid.

On November 10, 2022, during the razzia commemoration in the Feyenoord Stadium, an explanation will be given on the integral artistic design.

Publication date: 01 / 10 / 2022