In 2009, a woman named Anna approached my cousin with evidence claiming to be the last surviving member of our extended Lithuanian family. From there, however, each member of my family recounts a different story. Some family members who do not believe we are related confronted Anna, ultimately making it impossible for me to contact her personally. What we have all accepted is only that in 1941-1943 Lithuanian anti-Semites, with marginal Nazi encouragement, murdered Anna's entire family save for her brother and parents. Anna was born in hiding in 1943.
I have researched my lost relatives through various search engines and data bases, emails with my cousin who met and believes Anna, emails with my cousin who does not believe we are related to Anna, and contact with the organizations Yad Vashem and Jewishgen. This project is comprised of what I recovered in the process. These are partly hidden in accordance with the struggle it took to find the information and with the necessity of legibility for the viewer. The arrangement of information also follows a rough timeline of events.
The hallway space, in the Cornell University campus in Chelsea, New York was integral to my piece. I set up in an escape route from which the escape door, marked “final exit,” is blocked. We neither fully trace the deaths of these people nor can they or we escape. The promise of the exit signs is not met. However, a door still exists at the end of the route.