Young Interventions – Untold (Hi-)stories
The exhibition "Young Interventions - Untold Story(s)" shows ten artistic works and five short films created in the framework of the project "Young Interventions" at different locations in the memorial. In artistic workshops, youths and young adults from different countries, among them descendants of former prisoners, dealt with the history of Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and the question of how it can be remembered and the victims commemorated today.
The artistic interventions focus on the participants' perspectives on today's memorial site and the question of which stories are missing. For example, the commemoration of Sinti and Roma, the memory of Spanish prisoners or female prisoners who had to work as forced prostitutes in the long brothel are addressed. The exhibition is designed to be interactive. Each artwork poses a question to the viewer and invites them to reflect.
"Young Interventions" is a three-year cultural education project of the Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as part of the "Youth Remembers" programme from 2020 to 2022. The exhibition, which is expected to be on view until the end of 2023, marks the conclusion of the project, which successfully developed and tested new cultural education formats for contemporary history education.
An overview of the artworks and a site plan can be found here:Site plan.
"Like light in the darkness..." (Odd Nansen)
Letter writing, playing soccer, making music and smoking - activities from the area of "everyday camp life" and "leisure activities“
For the workshop exhibition " Like light in the darkness...", originally planned for the 75th anniversary of the liberation in 2020, staff members from the collection department have collected objects and documents from their holdings related to the theme of "free time" in everyday life at the concentration camp and interrogated them from various points of view. Postal traffic, smoking, music, and sports competitions are thematized in the exhibition.
Part of the camp's everyday life was communication with the outside world, writing and receiving letters and parcels. On the basis of numerous letters and postcards, different aspects of letter writing are illuminated: Specifications and organizational issues, censorship and hidden messages, cashiers, restrictions due to postal blocking. "Each of these letters is like light in the darkness" wrote the Norwegian prisoner Odd Nansen in his camp diary.
Smoking was allowed only during free time and outside the baracks - a commandment that was often disregarded and frequently punished with punishments such as beating on the trestle. Initially, cigarettes could be purchased in the canteen; later, tobacco and smoking products were among the permitted package contents. Those who did not have such access to cigarettes tried to "organize" some. In addition to drawings, numerous tobacco or cigarette tins made in the camp are on display.
Music was also part of everyday life in the concentration camp. This included the marching songs that prisoners had to sing on their way to the work detachments on the orders of the SS, as well as the illegally conducted „Schallerabende“ at which mainly political prisoners sang folk and fight songs together. There were numerous choirs and orchestras in the camp, especially in the 1940s, with and without the permission of the camp administration. From the collection, instruments such as the guitar of the Czech musician Jan Vala, as well as numerous songbooks and drawings are shown in the exhibition.
Since the middle of 1942, the organization of soccer matches and other competitions were among the innovations and benefits introduced by the SS in the concentration camps with the aim of increasing work motivation and performance. In the main camp, but also in some subcamps, competitions were regularly held on Sunday afternoons. On display is, among other things, a soccer cup made from a grenade, which the Norwegian team in the Falkensee satellite camp won in a four-nation tournament in the fall of 1944.
The history of the Jewish men imprisoned in Sachsenhausen following the November pogrom are told through twelve individual life stories. The interviews with the survivors’ families, as well the documents, pictures and audio materials presented in the exhibition, were recorded or collected on research trips to the U.S., the U.K., Australia and Israel. They have never been shown in Germany before.