“Pour Crever” by Trimpin in Lobby of Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco, California)

UPDATE (Oct 2, 2016): This may have been removed. Be sure to double check before making a special trip to see it.

Pour Crever is a 2010 work that was made to memorialize the seventieth anniversary of the deportation of all the Jews from the artist’s hometown of Efringen-Kirchen in Southern Germany to Gurs, the notorious detention camp in Southern France. It was originally shown outside the town hall of Breisach, in Germany. It makes its American debut at The CJM to mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the tragic event. The title is a quotation from the great philosopher Hannah Arendt, who survived Gurs. When asked why she was sent there, she said, “pour crever” (to die miserably).

The sculpture, which will be displayed in The Museum’s soaring lobby, is a tall, vertical piece using the motif of railroad tracks for its structure. A tank of water at the top some fourteen feet in the air matches an identical tank sitting on the floor. A hidden computer releases water from the top in a controlled fashion so as to spell out the names of all 300 of the Jewish residents. The names are spelled out, fall through space, and are swallowed up again at the bottom.

“I cannot tell the whole story of Gurs, but I can tell a fragment,” says Trimpin. “And with this fragment the story will keep going. I am saying, this is what happened. It can never be forgotten.”


Contemporary Jewish Museum
736 Mission Street (btwn. 3rd and 4th Streets)
San Francisco, CA 94103