Monday, 4 May 2015

In the gallery - again

Went to the Henri - Cartier Bresson expo at the Belgian Museum of Jewish History yesterday.  Great show - aside from being an excellent photographer he was witness to many of the key events of the 20th Century - from the Spanish Civil war, through the liberation of Dachau, the communist victory in China,  the independence of India, Paris '68, the civil rights and anti-Vietnam movements in the USA and much more.  He got to photograph Picasso, de Gaulle, Marilyn Monroe, Eisenhower, Gandhi (the day before he was assassinated), the Mountbattens  and so many other iconic figures of the 20th Century. A rich life well lived, although I always thought (and still think)  his best work was of street life in his adopted home city of Paris (see below).  In all a highly recomended show.

Getting in was a bit creepy - the museum was the scene of a fatal shooting last year in which four people were killed.  Getting in there now is like flying - full scan as you enter (but, then, that's the same at my local library these days) and four highly-armed army guards outside (the library doesn't have those).

After the Bresson expo I watched a harrowing film about the deportation of Jews from Belgium between 1942 and 1944 - detailig every train that deported more than 25,000 Jews from Belgium to Auschtwitz. Very few survived.  The whole video was particularly harrowing to me as some of the street scenes of the places where the Jewish community lived and were rounded up in the middle of the night are places where I regularly  shop.  One elderly Jewish guy described all the shops and houses in one street where his friends were taken from, half way through the interview he turned away from the camera, broke down and cried.

Tomorrow is freedom day in Wageningen: the place where the German army surrendered in the Netherlands.  There's a parade, a fly past and a big party.  I shan't be going this year - but think I will set aside a few minutes silence in memory of the Holocaust and pray that such a thing will never occur again.

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