Context is everything. Without it these huts’ history could be assumed benign.
In contrast this is a sad and moving space. One of a shameful history. Left as memorial but too easily overlooked, perhaps conveniently forgotten.
I shan’t reiterate the history of the dark and prolonged chapter here, I’ll instead link to people that have done the important job of recording and publishing it for us all and urge you to discover a tragic history that deserves to be known. I’ll also post these photographs that I made yesterday on my first encounter with this zone that sits opposite the site of my own incubation in a life saving six month hospitalisation.
I felt quietly moved by the atmosphere of this place. Not visiting the memorial centre itself this time, I preferred instead to just walk and look. To think and feel. And it affected me profoundly. It’s one of those rare places that can silently convey meaning by it’s mere existence. There are so many episodes of it’s varied histories scored into the walls of it’s open latrines or peeling from the dilapidated roofs of it’s squalid bunk houses. Just standing thinking of the whole families and former neighbours that will have trodden their feet up the concrete steps opposite from the open ground into the sanitary cubicles under guard, felt sickening. To see the windows of the bunk houses cut high into the walls to allow light in but not views out, one could imagine the desperate hopes and fears incubated away from their own societies in these prison portals conveniently out of view of daily life. Identical spaces decreed temporary homes identifiable only by stencilled number in the passage of an enforced pitiful existence.