• Gustav Metzger, Eichmann and the Angel, 2005

    photo by Marta Górnicka
  • Gustav Metzger, Eichmann and the Angel, 2005

    photo Bartosz Stawiarski
  • Gustav Metzger, Eichmann and the Angel, 2005

    photo by Marta Górnicka

Eichmann and an Angel is a multi-element installation. One of its components is a reconstructed bullet-proof witness box, where Adolf Eichmann, the chief coordinator and executioner of “the final solution of the Jewish question”, testified during a trial in 1962 in Jerusalem. Next to this is a wall constructed of packaged newspapers and a mechanical transmission belt.

Anyone may enter the box and sit down where Eichmann used to. The audience is also encouraged to take a newspaper and put it on the transmission belt. The installation is complemented by a reproduction of the painting Angelus Novus by Paul Klee – The Angel of History described by Walter Benjamin, a German philosopher of Jewish descent.

The elements of the installation are joined by an inscription Port Bou – New York – Jerusalem, speaking about the three key places and figures. Port Bou is a place where Walter Benjamin took his life. New York saw the death of Hannah Arendt, the author of the book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, one of the most significant essays of the 20th century. New York is also a city Walter Benjamin yearned to visit but he had never reached. Paradoxically, it is in Jerusalem that Eichmann, accountable for the organization of the system of the Holocaust, died. These three cities are linked with fragments of the same history, to which this work of art is dedicated.

Year: 2005
Medium: installation
Format: about 580 x 530 cm

Acquisition: purchase
Ownership form: collection
Source: Gustav Metzger
Index: MSN: 4300-13/2011
Acquisition date:
Financing source: Purchased with the support of Ministry of Culture and National Heritage

See also