Debaltsevo, Where Are You?
First edition, first impression of Debaltsevo, Where Are You? by Karine Zenja Versluis, published in 2023 by The Eriskay Connection. Small softback in new condition.
About Debaltsevo, Where Are You?
Photographer Karine Zenja Versluis (NL) started her own quest in 2013 when she decided to explore her family history in the city of Debaltseve in the Donbas, Ukraine. The place where her grandmother was born. Along the way, for more than ten years, everything went differently than expected. The search itself became the common thread in her story.
We follow the story of her grandmother, who was forced to leave Debaltseve (Debaltsevo in her grandmother’s memories) and work in a German labour camp during the Second World War. We get to know three Ukrainian families who had to flee Debaltseve in 2015 and 2022 due to another war. And we travel with the narrator herself, from the Netherlands to Ukraine, in search of a city she may never find.
During this journey, Versluis wonders how her grandmother’s story has influenced her own life. Constantly overtaken by current events, her plans keep changing, symbolising the puzzling search for her own identity. The work consists of archival images, photographs and texts in English, with Dutch and Ukrainian translations available online.