“SHADOW OF WAR” In The Media

Kira Semmler wrote a story for the DPA (German Press Agency) that was widely published in Germany. Online alone I found 15-20 links to the Google search “Ausstellung Im Schatten des Krieges New York” (Exhibtion Shadow of War New York).

Here is one of the links:

http://www.news.de/medien/855096013/ausstellung-schatten-des-krieges-in-new-york/1/

Great! But you don’t speak German!? No problem. I did a translation that was turned into “Real English” by my dear friend Lucy who helped me so much with this project that I don’t even know how to thank her for it. Please check out her cool new website wwword.com and if you are still looking for a presents for Christmas please go to her second website middleblue. You will find some amazing products and under sari scarves an amazingly beautiful scarf modeled by no other then myself! Thats what friends are for! Thanx again Lucy. 🙂

Exhibition “Shadow of War” New York City

New York (DPA).

The exhibition shows 23 portraits, but there are 24 photographs hanging on the walls of the Deutsche Haus (German House) which is part of the campus of the New York University. This is because there are two images of  Lothar Scholz: one image shows him from the front with a fur cap, rough textured gloves and dark green jacket; in the second image Scholz is seen from the back with “4-763” emblazoned across the back of his jacket. Lothar Scholz, born in1934, became a prisoner of war and was sent to the Russian polar region and did not go back home to Germany until 1954. He is one of the 23 Germans whose war experiences make up the theme of this exhibition in New York City.

“It is important to me to show that during the war [Second World War] Germans suffered too,” says Carsten Fleck, the photographer who lives and works in New York. “These people were children, teenagers and young adults at that time. I’m not trying to justify or gloss over anything with this show,” says Fleck, “these are just stories which have not been told before.” Fleck also interviewed all the people he shot. “Sometimes the interviews would go on for hours,” says Fleck, but in the show these have been edited down to about five minuets so people can listen on headphones either to the German original or the English translation which accompany each image.

“My mother was part of the Red Orchestra resistance movement,” says 73 year old, Saskia von Brockdorff. “My mother was arrested and received a 10 year prison sentence, but Hitler rejected the verdict and in January 1943 she was executed.” All her life von Brockdorff felt anger towards her mother, “in East Germany my mother was seen as a hero, but for me there was always the feeling of having been abandoned.” Von Brockdorff’s says the anger she felt towards her mother was because she felt her mother had committed herself to a higher cause and in so doing had left her daughter behind and also she had never mentioned her daughter in her last letter to her husband. “I placed a plaque in the Wilhelmshöher Strasse  where she had been arrested in our apartment and now I place another in Plötzensee where she was executed,” says von Brockdorff about her mother. Von Brockdorff was able to reconcile her feelings towards her mother through extraordinary circumstances after she discovered a letter at the Memorial for German Resistance from her mother, Erika Gräfin von Brockdorff  addressed to her. “It was a huge relief to find out that my mother had thought of me after all,” says Von Brockdorff’s.

In some of the portraits the sitters look directly into the camera with a firm gaze, in others they seem to look at a point in the middle distance as if they themselves are remote and barely there. While some of the sitters hold a photograph or their old identification papers, in most of the photographs the sitters are just sitting or standing. A few of the images are cropped tighter so the sitter’s heads and shoulders are all that’s seen; some are seen from the side; some are slightly turned in. The stories are as diverse as the photographs — these are experiences of daily life, anecdotes of often life-changing events which can move you to tears, and which are told by people who reveal very personal experiences.

While his voice is full of anger and agitation Klaus Riemer tells his story in extraordinary detail. Riemer spent his childhood in Germany during the war and witnessed the Americans arriving in Linz (Austria) when he was 14 years old. These Texan soldiers had just liberated the concentration camp, Dachau. “The soldiers showed me photographs they had taken,” remembers Riemer. “After that I started to wet my bed — this is how much that affected me,” he adds.

The story of  Renate Timme who was born in 1936 is also part of the exhibition. “I remember my mother crying only twice. The first time was on her birthday in 1941 — that is when the war with Russia started — and the second time was in 1944. A neighbor came to us with a plate and asked my mother if she likes the pattern,” says Timme. “The neighbor said that her wedding anniversary was in two days time and that her husband had bought her a new set of china so now there was no space left in her cabinet and she wanted my mother to have this china which was decorated with flowers and a gold rim.” Two days afterwards Timme finds her mother crying — the neighbor’s story was fabricated and the couple who had been told they were  about to be picked up, had instead, committed suicide. “I still own that set of china today,” says Timme.

 

The exhibition “Shadow of War” is open to the public until 17th December. (Now of course extended to 01-20-10)

 

 

 

“Shadow Of War In The Media” Berlin/Germany/Lothar Scholz wearing his camp jacket/January 2010

Please check out my website at carstenfleck.com

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