Legendary European Culture Figure on Michael Rogatchi and His Art

Many of those who saw Michael Rogatchi’s painting My Train were saying: “This train is going THERE. It is the first one. Or the last one. Or the next one. We also feel this train as ours though we are not Jewish…” The train has been torn off of the broken rail, and it is directed to nowhere – as if it has been pulled off against its will. The train is splitting a crowd of people. There are children, elderly men, women. We see them all through the eyes of a boy who is turned away from the viewers with only the back of his head being seeing. This boy is from our time. He forgets nothing.

My Train. Oil on canvas. 60 x 70 cm. 1994. The Rogatchi Art Collection.
Faces of Holocaust. Triptych. Part II. Centre. Oil, Indian ink, burned paper on canvas. 70 x 214. 1991-1992. Jewish community of Denpr, Ukraine.

One of the most tragic moments in Michael Rogatchi’s Jewish paintings is the child’s eyes from the central part of his Faces of the Holocaust triptych. One just can not stop to return to these questioning, beautiful, helpless eyes again and again. Even if somebody would try to avoid his questioning expression, the boy’s eyes will not leave one alone. Because here the artist has portrayed the Jewish Child who is still asking mankind all through the solemn way of his people.

Professor Carl Öhman, Chairman of the Finnish Culture Union, Commander of the Legion d’Honour