Nails – an Approach
Commemoration. What is that? How can you commemorate an event, a thing, a person if you don’t know the details about their history? If the parts of their history have been deliberately obscured, repressed or denied? Do objects have a memory? Can they shed light on a repressed or forgotten history?
Forced labor was one of the most public of crimes under National Socialism. There were forced laborers in nearly every city, every village, every factory, on every farm and in private households. During the Second World War those who were forced to work were a part of everyday life. People neither denied their presence nor asked about it either. The fact that they were visible in everyday life conveyed a sense of normality that made it possible to evade a sense of responsibility or guilt. That’s part of what prevented a real confrontation with the issue after the war or even fully today, for that matter.
Some of the countless acts of torture, exploitation, and inhumanity took place at Tempelhofer Feld. Between 2012 and 2014 the Berlin Monument Authority (Landesdenkmalamt Berlin) and the Free University Berlin (Freie Universität Berlin) carried out several excavations at these sites. Among other things, they unearthed cross sections of barracks that had been numbered 7 to 8, in which, according to surviving documents, Soviet men had been housed. As part of that excavation, 14,000 nails came to light—along with numerous other objects and fragments.
For information about the artwork of Sonya Schönberger see www.sonyaschoenberger.de
Special exhibition NAILS from May 1st until October 31 2021
Admission is free.
Heavy Load-Bearing Body
General-Pape-Straße corner of Loewenhardtdamm