In the year 2000, architectural historian Robert Jan van Pelt was called as a witness in a libel suit to challenge assertion by a revisionist, British historian and Holocaust denier, David Irving. Irving, maintained that there had been no gas chambers in Auschwitz and that therefore the Holocaust didn’t happen. Thanks to the forensic interpretation of the blueprints and architectural remains of Auschwitz Jan van Pelt was able to establish the truth.
Following the so-called “Irving case”, Jan van Pelt published The Case for Auschwitz (2002), a book that presented the compelling evidence contained in the original experts report and detailing the way this evidence played out at the trial.
As Anne Bordeleau beautifully explains in the exhibition catalogue, “The Evidence Room points to different ideas – institutional, cultural, and architectural – of a room.”
From the crematorium room, to the trial court room and the display room, it was relying on a visual and perhaps also tactile experience that the curators may recreate or suggest something from the experience of those who pass “the gate through which no one will enter more than once.” Occupying yet another room, a smaller version of the Biennale display will be exhibited in the Octagonal Gallery at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, from June to September 2016.
1. Anne Bordeleau, “The Cast Court” in The Evidence Room, Toronto, New Jewish Press, 2016, p. 113.
until 27 November 2016
The Evidence Room
15. Venice International Architecture Biennale