HAVENS OF INHUMANITY  (Working title)

This project focuses on prison and labor camps for political prisoners that were all established or used after WW II:

- S 21, Cambodia 

- Robben Island, Southafrika 

- Perm 36, Russia  

- Bautzen II and Hohenschoenhausen, former GDR 

- Amna Suraka, Iraq 

- Penal de Emboscada, Paraguay 

In these camps political prisoners were forced to carry out penal labor and were tortured, humiliated, and killed. Even though tens of thousands of people died in them, there has to date been little effort to reexamine and come to terms with what happened. Silence and looking the other way seem to be a continuing historical and social phenomenon. This is an aspect of inhumanity that is still quite evident today.

Just as the bodies of victims simply vanished from many of the camps and no explanation of their fate was ever given, up to the present day memories of the camps have been ignored, played down, or even denied.

But injustice and inhumanity cannot be simply hushed up. Remembering is the other side of the coin of forgetting. The demand to be seen and heard never really disappears.

The project is dedicated to documenting memories: in photographs and texts the camps serve as witnesses of the inhumanity that took place in them. Included are a video (with excerpts from interviews with survivors and others who were involved, as well as pictures of the camps), a publication and a traveling exhibition, which is especially appropriate for schools, training centers and other public facilities.

Even though most of these camps seem far away – they are relevant to all of us. They were spread all over the world. And remembering them is a contribution to a more humane future.

HAVENS OF INHUMANITY is a project about the future. In the words of Solzhenitsyn, it is “dedicated to all those who did not live long enough to tell their story themselves.”

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