Tech News

Nazi crimes: the history of the executions on the island of Alderney will be presented at the exhibition

A dark page in the history of the tiny British island will be shown in a reproduction of the site of a Nazi execution, created by an artist whose work explores the impact of destruction and violence.

Secunda Pier has taken a cast of a bullet-damaged wall, part of a Victorian fort on Alderney, one of the Channel Islands, which will be on display in London next month. Secunda will talk about the wall’s history and forensic evidence from American experts, which supports his conclusion that it was the site of executions carried out by German soldiers occupying the Channel Islands during World War II, reports The Guardian .

Focus.Technology has its own Telegram channel . Subscribe to not miss the latest and most interesting news from the world of science!

His work will be the latest in a series of works documenting in art form the impact of the conflict, a topic that Secunda has been dealing with since 2001, when the Taliban blew up the rock-cut statues of Bamiyan in Afghanistan in the sixth century.

The existence of the wall in Alderney was told to the artist by a friend who lives on the island. “I’ve seen enough bullet holes in places like Afghanistan and Iraq to recognize clear patterns like invasion, defense, target shooting and executions,” Secunda said.

He sought expert advice from two world-renowned ballistics experts at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. They visited Alderney last summer and concluded earlier this month that the fort was almost certainly an execution site.

The Channel Islands were occupied by German troops from 1940 until the end of the war. Guernsey and Jersey had large civilian populations, but 1,400 Alderneys had been evacuated just a few weeks earlier.

The evacuation was traumatic. “People were told to kill their livestock and pets, pack one suitcase.” They had no idea when they would return, or if they would return at all.

In October 1941, Hitler announced his intention to turn the islands into an “impregnable fortress” to prevent the Allied invasion of Europe. Thousands of prisoners were brought to Alderney to build hundreds of concrete fortifications and labor camps, including two concentration camps run by the SS.

Among those sent to the island were Russian, Polish and Ukrainian prisoners of war and civilian, French Jews, as well as German and Spanish political prisoners. More than 6,000 people of 27 nationalities are believed to have been forced to live and work in harsh conditions.

Immediately after the war, a British intelligence officer, Captain Theodore Puncheff, investigated German activities on Alderney. “I believe it has been established that crimes of a systematically cruel and soulless nature have been committed on British soil over the past three years,” he concluded in a report published in 2021.

The prisoners lived on a starvation diet in wooden barracks surrounded by barbed wire. They “carried out heavy construction work for 12 hours a day, sometimes more, with a break at noon lasting from 10 minutes to half an hour … and so seven days a week.”

Pantcheff wrote: “Workers were beaten for the slightest infractions, contrary to strict rules, such as improperly performing movements during training or trying to extract extra food from the trash can.”

One German officer offered the soldiers “a bonus of 14 days’ leave, additional food and drink for the SS guards for every five prisoners killed,” according to Pantcheff.

Mass graves were discovered on the island after the war. But the British government decided not to prosecute the perpetrators of war crimes for fear of international embarrassment.

Secunda’s interest in the aftermath of violence arose in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attack on the New York Twin Towers. During this time he lived in the Hudson Valley in New York State. “The emotional terror put my brain in a different mode, where it became very difficult to focus on creating abstract art. I was slowly moving towards creating cultural destruction works,” he shares.

In the case of Alderney, there is also a personal influence. His grandfather’s plane was fired upon from the islands the night before the day of the Normandy landings. “The history of World War II and what is happening at the level of detail is still being revealed. Much is still unknown,” adds Secunda.

Many did not know that concentration camps existed on British soil, and German soldiers carried out executions. “These things really happened in the UK and the political danger is still there in many ways. It’s important to learn from the lessons of history – and that’s an extraordinary lesson,” says the researcher.

Previously , Focus talked about an auction at which a Kandinsky painting stolen by the Nazis would be sold . It is planned to receive 45 million dollars for it.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button