Thursday, 30 April 2015

Light in the Black Diamond library, tales of the Danish Jewish experience during World War 2

A heavy storm threatened and I just reached the new Royal Library to shelter form the storm. I had seen the fabulous huge rectangular black front of the building on the harbour front. Inside the museum is beautiful and full of light with stairs curving up through the building; there is a fine cafe with views out onto the harbour. There were several exhibitors on, one on Danish War photos. These captured the ambivalent aspects of the Danish occupation by the Nazis, but the captions were written in Danish so it was difficult to pick up nuances. The main treasures of the library were displayed with medieval psalters, Luther’s bible, Bach’s music and Audubon bird paintings, but the lighting was very low and the English captions difficult to read.

The Jewish museum has had an armed guard since the cafĂ© bombings in February so I went in out of solidarity. I saw exhibition called “Home” about the 4300 Jews who were smuggled out of Denmark into Sweden at the end of the 2 WW. The exhibition was well curated and reflected different aspects of the Jewish experience with photos and stories. Some children were adopted, others never talked about their experiences, other perished in camps, the Jewish homes in Copenhagen were partially protected from the Nazis. Returnees were given money and ration cards.

I saw the huge photos of the Canadian Stan Douglas in an old church. He recreates huge scenes in his photo-conceptualist works which include people at the races in the 1920s and scenes outside factories. I shopped and then appreciated the 15 min metro journey to the airport because it compensated for the slow long queues through security, so unDanish.

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