We Won’t See Auschwitz

The Holocaust isn’t the easiest subject to explore through a medium as image-led as the graphic novel.

We Won't See Auschwitz cover
We Won’t See Auschwitz cover

However, new Self Made Hero- published book We Won’t See Auschwitz proves that with a little sensitivity, a sweet and unpatronising plotline and some sensitively evocative illustration, it’s possible to produce a volume that explores such weighty issues rather well.

We Won't See Auschwitz
We Won’t See Auschwitz

The book is the graphic novel debut for Jérémie Dres, an illustrator and comic artist living in Paris, and translated into English by Edward Gauvin.

We Won't See Auschwitz
We Won’t See Auschwitz

The semi-autobiographical novel traces the central character  -tellingly also called Jérémie – as he seeks to find out more about his Polish family’s roots on the death of his grandmother.

We Won't See Auschwitz
We Won’t See Auschwitz

Accompanied by his brother Martin, he rejects finding out about the Holocaust – hence the book’s title – and instead explores what it means to be Jewish and Polish in the present.

We Won't See Auschwitz
We Won’t See Auschwitz

Navigating this figurative personal journey as they explore the village of Zelechow and the cities of Warsaw and Krakow, the pair’s physical journey takes them on a number of deftly delineated encounters.

We Won't See Auschwitz
We Won’t See Auschwitz

Along the way they meet a selection of sweet and strange characters, talking to them about their grandmother and in doing so, gradually piecing together more about who she was – and consequently, who they are.

We Won't See Auschwitz
We Won’t See Auschwitz

It’s a cute yet powerful series of little monochrome vignettes, capturing the strange little individual nuances and tics that give people their identity.

While the illustrations may not be overly complex or technical, the sketchy black and white tales manages to cover some weighty histories, proving that in some cases, pictures really are capable of speaking a thousand words.

We Won’t See Auschwitz is out now published by Self Made Hero priced £14.99

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