"Blogging isn't journalism, it's graffiti with punctuation."

Posts tagged “Nazis

#Polska14 Day 1: Warsaw Recycling and Uprising

IMG_5470.JPG
Day 1 in Warsaw is complete! And what a packed day! When I arrived the night before from my short flight from Brussels, my lovely hotel room in the centre of the city with a big warm comfy bed and dinner awaited!
IMG_5434.JPG

I love waking up in an Eastern European hotel room overlooking the bustling city. I feel like Jason Bourne.

IMG_5436.JPG

Like I posted about last time, I had been to Warsaw before and it’s strange how the human brain works because I actually remembered where everything was! I had a sense of direction, I knew where the landmarks were, and I felt perfectly at ease.

IMG_5466.JPG

This is the gorgeous Palace of Culture and Science just around the corner from my hotel. It was built by Stalin, modelled on the Empire State building, much smaller but just as grand. The people of Warsaw tend to hate it because they were taxed heavily to pay for it… ah Stalin.

So to begin the day, all us POLEKO delegates and I were ushered to the Polblume recycling plant to see what one of the leaders of European recycling can teach Canada about going Green and truly espousing the idea of waste-not-want-not. Funded by the EU, they collect, treat, process, recover, and recycle electrical and electronic equipment, like batteries, circuit boards, glass, metals and polymers. That may not sound so high tech, but when they actually take old batteries and recycle them into new batteries, something that Canada doesn’t really do. Also, walking around their plant was actually pretty cool. There was this giant cub of compacted electronics, and it seems a pair of surgical scissors survived the event.

IMG_5450.JPG

 

To me, that’s super cool.

IMG_5443.JPG
Those are two giant crates of discarded televisions. You could make a giant monster out of televisions with these. If any of my readers like reusing old/found materials to create art installations, this plant is like your Mecca.

IMG_5461.JPG
Next stop on the tour was to the Warsaw Uprising Museum. I’m hoping that most people know by now about the 1944 civilian uprising in Warsaw that saw an underground movement attempt to drive the Nazi occupiers out of the devastated city. I mean, you can’t go through life without knowing about the absolute devastation Poland faced during WWII. The invasion of Poland is literally what kicked off the war in September 1939, the largest death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau is located in Poland, and they fought so bravely from behind the Ghetto walls and from behind occupied lines to save their people.

IMG_5464.JPG
The museum was massive, and we didn’t have much time there unfortunately, so I tried to see as much as I could. They have excellent exhibits, most of it audio-visual. I actually sat and watched reel after reel of excellent documentary footage taken from the streets, close-up and in the face of the revolt and of the captured Nazi soldiers. They also had a great 3D film that reconstructs Warsaw at the end of the war, as it lay in absolute ruins. The city was levelled to the ground, so when you walk around Warsaw now, the entire old town had to be rebuilt from city photographs. Some old buildings were able to salvage the foundations or perhaps loading walls, but Warsaw was basically razed to the ground.

IMG_5471.JPG
I didn’t take too many photographs inside the museum because I was watching so much archival footage, but here are a few. If you’re in Warsaw, you must visit the museum!

IMG_5472.JPG

IMG_5475.JPG

IMG_5474.JPGLook at this gorgeous Meteor typewriter! You all know typewriters are my kind of pornography, but this one was used by the Uprising in order to galvanize and organize the revolt. This typewriter changed history!

IMG_5476.JPGOld town fountain.

IMG_5477.JPG

IMG_5479.JPGYou know what I love about Warsaw and her streets?  Sometimes you can turn a corner, and realize you cannot find any traces of the 21st century anywhere. Bless this town.

IMG_5486.JPGSome Warsaw street art for good measure! More from my adventures in Poland and #Polska14 coming up! Check the Twitter hashtag to keep up with my adventures in real time!


Berlin light, colour, and stone

 

Otto Piene. RIP.

David and I went to the vernissage at the Neue Nationalgalerie and were blown away. It was thrilling. What a loss to the art world.

Nil Frahm playing on his custom made Una Corda piano at the Michelberger Hotel courtyard.

And then this happened, and we all collectively lost our shit.

Potsdam.

This guy is on his cell phone?

Tom and his doggie Rocky.

This is called Brandenburger Tor as well… smaller but just as swell.

SOMEONE BREAK THE GLASS AND LET ME IN. This was on Schoenhauser Allee.

This is my pornography.

This is the Bendlerblock courtyard where Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg was assassinated by the Gestapo after his plot to kill Hitler failed on July 20, 1944.

The 70th anniversary just passed.

You did not bear the shame.
You resisted.
You bestowed the eternally vigilant symbol of change
by sacrificing your impassioned lives for freedom, justice and honor.

The spot where he was shot.

The Berliner Dom. It had just rained, so the platz was deserted. I sat on the steps of the church, pulled out my journal, and wrote. I had the entire Dom to myself… and, it seemed, the entire city.

 

The platz in front of the university.

This is the spot where the 1933 Nazi student book-burning took place. The plaque talks of all the kinds of writers whose works are lost, and then there’s a Heinrich Heine quote from 1820, which says, “This is only prologue: where they burn books, in the end they will also burn people.”

I photographed this 8 years ago too.

But what never seems to develop properly in photography is the empty library. Next to this plaque, in the ground, there is a window. When you look down through it, you see underground, empty bookshelf after empty bookshelf.

 

This church was bombed out during WWII and after the war they decided not to rebuilt it as a memento to the horrors of war. I photographed this 8 years ago when it didn’t have all that cubism shit all over it.

Berlin-henge.


One day in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

In my life, I have visited two concentration camps: Auschwitz (which I decided at the time not to post my pictures) and Dachau (which I decided not to blog about at all). I have always believed, however, that if you are in the area, you really should make an effort to go to them. So, being stationed in Berlin for the time being, I knew I had to go to Sachsenhausen.

I don’t want to say very much in this post. Jeff and I spent six hours at the camp, and walked out of there drained. So I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.

This I will speak about, because this is such rivetting history, and new things are being discovered all the time at these places. In 2003, a construction worker at the Sachsenhausen visitors centre was taking down a partition wall when he heard a crinkle and a smash within the wall. Inside the wall, he found a bottle hanging from a wire, with a note inside. As he had smashed through the wall, he had smashed the bottle, so the note was now accessible. It had been written and left there in 1944 by two Sachsenhausen inmates! They had probably been able to leave this message in a bottle because, in all likelihood, they had been assigned to build the wall. The note was written by two guys who were both political prisoners and had been there for years, even before the war started. One guy, Anton Engermann, was from Cologne and lived on Severinstrasse! I know that street! He wrote  that he had been there since 1937 and said “When will I see my love in Frechen, Cologne once more? But my spirit is unbroken.  Things must get better soon.”

The great thing about this story is both men survived the camp and the war. Engermann lived to the ripe old age of 82, but died in 1983, well before this note was found. The other man, Tadeusz Witkowski, supposedly emigrated to Canada, but no one knows of his whereabouts or if he’s still living, they haven’t tracked him down. If he’s still alive (unlikely but possible), it would be cool to ask him questions about how and why the men left this note.


As a final note, if any of you have seen the Oscar-winning film The Counterfeiters, it takes place at Sachsenhausen. I saw the film earlier this year and had forgotten this is where it takes place. Upon visiting Sachsenhausen, and being able to see some of the forged British pound notes they created, it really brought the whole thing together. Highly recommend you watch the film.


Critical Mass at the Brandenburg Gate

First, when Napoleon took the city, he marched his army through the Brandenburger Tor.

Then when the Nazis took power, they marched their army through the Brandenburger Tor.

It lay in near-ruins after the war, and then later was closed off from the public when it was in the killzone between the Berlin Wall.

Now the public is invited. All the time.

Critical Mass is CRITICAL.

A shining beacon and city called home.

 


#StreetArt and #Graffiti on the streets of #Copenhagen, Part 2

As promised, here is the second instalment of my Copenhagen street art photo dump. The above mural of a woman cycling is exactly what Copenhagen is all about. Just like Amsterdam, everyone cycles here. The bike lanes are huge and dedicated, and the city is green. Love this.

In the last post, you saw a huge iron gun made my TEJN, the above is by TEJN as well. It was on the Louise Bridge in the Norrebro area of Copenhagen. It’s a peace sign that needs to be wound up…or locked up…whichever, it’s pretty sweet.

And this was across the street from the TEJN piece, again on the bridge. I don’t know if it’s commissioned by the city or the work of some secret artist. It says “The Earth Bears Your Mark” and then again in Danish underneath.

Hahaha. Run Nazi, Run!

Another Kid Acne that I found in the Dybbolsbro area.

That’s like the mantra of the mafia, or something.

Just like in the last post, more KissMama! “I hate my wife because I’m boring.” Yup, that’s every husband.

“Let me steal your heart.” YOU DAMN WELL BETTER.

“No Title.”

It doesn’t need one either.

I can’t tell if that’s a man & a woman, two men, or two women. It doesn’t really matter. It has that Grecian feel to it, classically-cool.