Monday, August 17, 2009

Of Salaspils

Your correspondents stopped by the "memorial complex" of Salaspils on their way back from Lithuania. Salaspils was the site of the largest concentration camp in the Baltics during the Nazi occupation. Though it was mostly a way station for those who would ultimately be sent to die elsewhere, tens of thousands died there. I haven't been to the sites in Central Europe, so can't compare, but the site at Salaspils was pretty well put together. There is a little museum space that could be used a little more effectively, but the main part of the site is a large, flat, grassy field with monumental sculptures. The best feature is an installation featuring a metronome, whose slow, ominous ticking can be heard throughout the site. It echoes either a heartbeat or a clock, but either way it somehow communicates the gravity of the site.

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