Tag Archives: concentration camps

Like Nana’s Range (might be distressing)

11 Jun

Crematoria

As Husb and I walked around the Saschenhausen Concentration Camp in Berlin last week (on a Sandemans Guided Tour) I sketched what I could on the move. It made it easier in some ways because I could detach myself slightly from my surroundings. A lot of the camp was destroyed by the Soviets after they took control of East Germany, but some parts remained, although badly damaged, like the crematoria that were used to destroy the bodies of the tens of thousands of people who were murdered here. Their bodies were originally shipped out in trucks to crematoria in the city, but one truck overturned and spilled bodies across a street so these crematoria were built so that the citizens of Berlin wouldn’t have to see such a distressful sight again.

All that’s left are a few small brick walls, the black metal ‘ovens’ and the metal girders that supported the brick structure. This was the point where I broke down. The ‘ovens’ look for all the world like the black iron range in my Nana’s kitchen when I was a child; happy memories of her kettle always bubbling away and goodies coming out of the little oven. Horror can look so ordinary and benign!

My parent’s generation lived through the war, many died on all sides. It is our duty to them to make sure it doesn’t happen again. These vile attitudes are on the rise once more in Europe. We have to stop them, we have to safeguard the future.

 

 

Just Like Home

9 Jun

Rain And Horror

Husb and I were in Berlin in a heatwave last week and we visited the Saschenhausen Concentration Camp in one of the Berlin suburbs. The temperature had been up to around 30° Celsius, way too hot for a bunch of gingery Celts but the skies grew dark and there was a sudden, very fierce, thunderstorm. Being Welsh, we just stood there in the pouring rain, just like home. Then we turned around and noticed that the rest of our tour group were all huddled for shelter at the side of one of the huts.

Concentration storm 2

I carried on drawing into my brown paper sketchbook. The rain spattered the conté crayons and made the drawing quite fuzzy, which I really like. It prevented me from getting bogged down in detail and forced me to take an emotional approach to the subject, three poles set into the concrete square that were used to punish the poor souls imprisoned in this hellhole.

Never Forget

4 Jun

concentration camp

Husb and I spent a few days in Berlin this earlier this week and spent some time visiting the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp on the outskirts of the city. It was moving and chilling; I was shocked to discover that it was surrounded by a nice, middle-class housing estate. People turned a blind eye to the horror that was built in their midst. In these troubled times, with terror attacks by fundamentalists and calls for retaliation from extremists, we need to remember more than ever what can happen when intolerance gets out of hand.

Concentration storm

It wasn’t easy to sketch as we were moving more or less constantly as part of a guided tour (well worth paying for), but I managed some speed sketches and a few digital photos. There was a thunderstorm while we were there, the looming sky suited the place.

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