Video report of the preview 19 Jan 2023 presented by photographer Jo Struyven of photo exhibition ‘236 — Land(es)capes from the 20th Convoy’. Photo exhibition of works by Jo Struyven and Luc Tuymans in the Jewish Museum of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium | January 20 – August 14, 2023. License info : 236 Land(es)capes 20th convoy | 20230126 | Michel van der Burg | Miracles•Media | TakeNode 428839bb-7165-4771-a490-27158928ec25
On April 19, 1943, the 20th transport left the Mechelen transit camp to deport 1,631 Jews to Auschwitz. Thanks to resistance actions, both inside and outside the wagons, 236 of these deportees managed to jump from the train that would lead them to destruction.
Photographer Jo Struyven revisits this unique act of resistance in Western Europe during the Nazi regime and shows us the landscapes in which this little-known story took place.
From 20 January 2023, the Jewish Museum of Belgium, in partnership with the Auschwitz Foundation, presents the exhibition entitled ‘ 236, Land(es)capes from the 20th Convoy ‘. It is set up in the museum’s project space and offers an artistic look at an exceptional and forgotten event in the Second World War.
The 20th convoy
At 10 p.m. on April 19, 1943, the 20th convoy departed from the Kazerne Dossin transit camp in Mechelen with 1,631 Jewish deportees in cattle cars, heading for Auschwitz. Thanks to resistance actions, both inside the wagons and from outside, 236 of these deportees managed to jump from that train, that was leading them to extermination. An unique event in Europe under the Nazi administration.
Jo Struyven, photographer
The work of the Belgian photographer Jo Struyven (°Sint-Truiden, 1961) takes us back to these acts of resistance – commemorating the 80th anniversary in 2023 – and gives us a glimpse of the landscapes in which this striking story took place. Taking the perspective of those who jumped off that train, an act for which many of them paid with their lives, Struyven creates a contemporary ‘memorial’ with 19 large ‘nocturnal’ black and white images, and one colour print.
Jo Struyven :
The 20th convoy, heading for the unspeakable “Auschwitz”, crossed the area where I grew up, barely 50 meters from my childhood bedroom — I found out 2 years ago after meeting Simon Gronowski. Ever since, I imagine the distress of the deportees. The destination was unknown to them. Some, sensing the worst, tried to escape it. I wanted to give an account of this border between life and death, between resignation and the impossibility of choosing, and the freedom regained with resistance to the oppressor’s plans.
Works presented by Jo Struyven
Land(es)capes from the 20th Convoy, 2020-2022, 19 black and white prints, 1 color print, 90×60 cm (Private collection – Belgium)
Luc Tuymans, visual artist
In dialogue with Jo Struyven’s photographs, two works by Belgian visual artist Luc Tuymans (°Mortsel, 1958) evoke the destruction of the Jews and Roma of Europe. Die Wiedergutmachung (The Reparation) depicts body parts – left the eyes of gypsy children who had been experimented on by the Nazis. … images that in its incompleteness, reflect the inability to represent facts and memory .
Works presented by Luc Tuymans
Art after the Shoah
“Writing a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric”, wrote German philosopher Theodor W. Adorno in 1949. Through two contemporary perspectives from the visual arts, this exhibition seeks to address this question of the (im)possibility of art after the Shoah in a new way.
Testimonies & Catalogue
This exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue book edited by Daniel Weyssow and Jo Struyven and published by the Auschwitz Foundation entitled Land(es)capes from the 20th Convoy (press release on April 19, 2023), as well as an educational space presenting the testimonies from interviews and archives of convoy escapees.
Info+ ( & Français | Nederlands)
236 Land(es)capes from the 20th Convoy Jo Struyven / Luc Tuymans Exhibition at the Jewish Museum of Belgium, in Brussels, Belgium 20 January – 14 August 2023 Brussels Website https://www.mjb-jmb.org
Jan 20, 2023 – Vernissage ‘236’ Land(es)capes 20th convoy.
Video report : Vernissage ‘236’ Land(es)capes 20th convoy
Thursday January 19th, 2023, the vernissage of the photo exhibition 236 — Land(es)capes from the 20th Convoy was opened with speeches by Philippe Blondin, President of the Jewish Museum, and by Pierre-Yves Jeholet , Minister-President of the Government of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels. Next, the Belgian photographer Jo Struyven presented his work — escape landscape photographs glowing in the dark — like being lit by moonlight — as well as paintings contributed by Luc Tuymans in the project space. The exhibition runs from January 20 – August 14, 2023 in the Jewish Museum of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium. Video report (20230120) Michel van der Burg | Miracles•Media .
Jan 20, 2023 – VRT | Kristien Bonneure (Belgian Flemish Broadcast) 20 jan 2023
Eating Tulip Bulbs ~ Hunger Winter Holland 1944-1945 .
My mother did not tell me much and no details on her experiences in World War 2, except for the Hongerwinter (“Hunger winter”) – the Dutch famine of 1944–45 – that she had to eat tulip bulbs.
As children in the 1950s our mother always told us to finish and clean our plates (and pretty large portions, served by our parents) , before being allowed to leave the table. The one thing we were regularly reminded of was the famine my mother and others had experienced…and that she even had to eat tulip bulbs – then a 16-year old teenager living (with her parents) in the city of The Hague during the Dutch famine of 1944–45.
The famine was caused by a German blockade plus the harsh winter blocking alternative water routes, that cut off food and fuel shipments to the western Netherlands were food stocks rapidly ran out in the large cities of The Hague, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam . Tulip bulbs and sugar beets were commonly consumed. Trees in The Hague city woods (like Scheveningse Bosjes shown in the film) were cut , and in the end furniture and houses were dismantled to provide fuel for heating.
When the famine was worst and deaths were reaching a peak , the Bezuidenhout neighbourhood of The Hague – were my mothers family lived – was bombed by British bomber crews with the wrong coordinates flying in fog and clouds, causing widespread death and destruction. More on that ‘Bombing of the Bezuidenhout’ later this month.
Menno Huizinga (1907–1947) took photographs illegally during the occupation , mainly in his hometown The Hague in Holland. He was a member of the group of Dutch photographers ‘De Ondergedoken Camera’ (1943-1945) – The Underground Camera – doing resistance work during the Second World War.
‘Eating Tulip Bulbs ~ Hunger Winter Holland 1944-1945’ is a silent film by Michel van der Burg , using photographs captured during this ‘Hunger winter’ 1944-1945 by Menno Huizinga in Holland (mainly in The Hague) from the public domain collection of the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies , curated by Dutch Network War Collections (NOB) for WO2 Open Data Depot via Wikimedia Commons.
Photographs by Menno Huizinga, Holland 1944-1945 | NIOD | WO2 Open Data Depot | Wikimedia Commons.
Film : Eating Tulip Bulbs | 20200325 | Michel van der Burg | Settela•Com – CC BY 4.0
Menno Huizinga (1907–1947) took photographs illegally during the occupation , mainly in his hometown The Hague in Holland. He was a member of the group of Dutch photographers ‘De Ondergedoken Camera’ (1943-1945) – The Underground Camera – doing resistance work during the Second World War. ‘Liberation Holland – The Underground Camera of Menno Huizinga’ is a silent film by Michel van der Burg , using photographs made by Menno Huizinga from the public domain collection of the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies , curated by Dutch Network War Collections (NOB) for WO2 Open Data Depot via Wikimedia Commons. Film: Liberation Holland | The Underground Camera of Menno Huizinga | 20190606 | Michel van der Burg | Settela•Com – CC BY 4.0 .