n Search of the Lost Object addresses issues of memory and history and documents the emigration and immigration experiences of my family. My parents and I arrived in New York in 1939, when I was one, as Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. My grandparents, and other members of our community, did not escape. They were deported to their deaths in l942. In 1990 I determined to turn the raw material of my family's experiences into an exhibition to be shown in my birthplace, Bamberg, Germany. The building housing the municipal museum, the site of this installation in 1991, turned out to have been the last home of my grandparents from '39 to '42.
In the exhibition, Revenants, empty shrouds of draped cloth, appear as ghosts of the dead. Family Portraits, taken from photographs of the days when the family's life was normal co-exist with the Revenants. The German audience was confronted with the story of my Jewish family that had lived in their midst. My intention was to reclaim a part of my history, memorialize those who died, and return to the Bambergers a piece of their history. I hoped to reach the German citizens of Bamberg, and, later, American audiences, with images of normalcy that they could accept and through which they might understand a single strand of the Holocaust. Central to this installation is the Document Wall - a set of 66 facsimiles of documents that tell of my family's emigration attempts, accompanied by a taped narrative. Two large, hanging Garments made of stiffened cloth evoke memories of those who died. The wall of Tablets holds transferred images of the various eras of this story. The images struggle for clarity, like memory itself.