|| About the project

In the language of statistical and historical data our story is the following: according to census data 16 763 Israelites lived in Cluj in 1941. This number represented 13-15% of the total population of the city in that period. The census in 2002 recorded 223 Jews in Cluj. The 6163/1944 decree issued on the 7th of April 1944 by the Ministry of Interior decided that Jews had to be sent in ghettos. As a consequence of the decree the administration obligated 16.750 Jews to wear the yellow star and sent them away to the brick factory. The built up area of the brick factory amounted to 19.600 m2, allocating 1, 17 m2 to a person. The first train departed from the brick factory on the 25th of May deporting 3130 persons to the death camps. The second one left Cluj on 29th of May with 3417 persons, the third one deported 3270 Jews on 31st of May, the forth one 3100 on the 2nd of June, the fifth one 1784 on the 8th of June and the sixth one 1447 on the 9th of June. Thus a total number of 16 148 persons were packed in trains and transported to Birkanau just a few months before the end of the war. Márton Katz, a survivor of the death camp "wearing" the 12636 number tattooed on his arm in the camp, collected 150 photographs of the deported "wracks" and bond them in two albums. The photos represented 436 unknown persons. 63 years have passed since then. Till 2008 the great majority of the Jewish community has became to represent a bleak number.

Márton Katz's albums reached us. They contain 436 unidentified faces. 436 faces, the trace of 436 real individuals. These photographs are the imprints of individual persons, the grocer, someone's sister in law, the retired actor of the city theater, and who knows who else's. The photographs have lost their identity, they have become pure images, divorced from the concrete individuals, their legitimate owners, and today we see no one behind them. "The youth were like that back then, they wore those things and made their hair like that" we say and leave it there. Márton Katz asked for the help of his fellow city dwellers in 1945 to fill in the missing data on the persons' photographs and to take out those that did not belong there. His initiative was not successful, the data sheets remained empty and the persons unidentified. Now, in 2008 we repeat Marton Katz initiative. Although we know that it is a late wailing we think that the whole population of the city should not accept that 15% of city dwellers melt into the air. We are asking again: Who recognize these faces? How knows how they disappeared?

The Cine îi recunoaşte? Tudsz róluk? Missing 1944-2008 project conveys the memory of individuals departed in 1944, first of all for the population of the city. The media of the project the touchable photographs, the virtual page-turning installation, the catalogue containing imprints, the former Poale Tzedek synagogue, the banner on the wall of Transit House, the electronic photographs on the internet, all of them multiply traces of missing persons to reinsert them in the city through Tranzit House, and to reach others through the internet, others who might recognize someone from the missing persons. By identifying some of the unknown persons, Marton Katz intended to regain his tranquility of mind. After 63 years we would like to do the contrary; to induce a feeling of disquiet in Cluj. And even if we cannot answer the question "Who is on the photo?" we may ask instead "What sort of world is the one in which such stories are possible?"

Csilla Könczei, president of Tranzit Foundation