Outreach to Humanity series of Projects, 2013-2014.

Many of Michael Rogatchi’s artworks reflecting Holocaust has become the main art element in the Inna Rogatchi’s internationally critically acclaimed documentary The Lessons of Survival: Conversations with Simon Wiesenthal ( 2013-2014).

It was a special project for the artist who together with his wife did know famous Nazi-hunter well and was friendly with Wiesenthal for many years. After Wiesenthal’s death in 2005, Michael and Inna Rogatchi are still in friendly relationships with his daughter Paulinka , her husband Gerard and their big family. 

Among the art works that become the central art element in the film, there was Michael’s well-known The Way painting which belonged to Simon Wiesenthal and his wife Cyla for many years. After his death, the work is with The Wiesenthal Centre in Lon-Angeles, the USA. 

Due to its theme, the work on selecting and placing Michael’s art works as central element of his wife’s film on Simon Wiesenthal has become the one of the Rogatchi couple and their Foundation Outreach to Humanity project.

Michael Rogatchi at the Holocaust section of the Jewish People History Museum in Ukraine. 2014. (C) Michael Rogatchi Archive.

The project was special and demanding in many senses: it was personal and with wide public reverberation at the same time; it is not easy to create art on such horror as Holocaust; the art needed to be balanced against documentary factological material, it all should be meaningful, delicate, laconic and tasteful. And importantly, serious art adds another dimension to a genre of a documentary film.

The project was very interesting and rewarding, the film is internationally acclaimed and shown world-wide, and many people and art critics has perceived it as ‘art film’ – which was not a purpose in the beginning of its creation, but as it evolves, Michael Rogatchi’s art has set the film’s tone and its atmosphere in a very special way, the way which only deep, qualified and humanistic art can do. Michael’s art works has added  a very important dimension of reflections to the documentary’s narrative of the film, thus prolonged and deepened its effect on the viewers. 

The new release of The Lessons of Survival is planned for 2022, alongside with Inna Rogatchi’s new book on her and her husband Michael’s friendship, meetings and conversations with Simon Wiesenthal.