by Tord Björk
The Nazis wanted to exterminate a race and Karl Marx wanted to exterminate a social class. Our guide at the House of European History museum (HEH) in Brussels is twisting her tongue as she tries to solve the task of simultaneously explaining that Communism and Nazism are the same thing, and yet, somehow not. Visually, the impression of the museum’s exhibition is overwhelmingly slanted toward the notion that they are fully, inexorably and inherently equivalent.
Towering above us in the ideologically most intense part of the museum are huge video screens tilted towards the visitor. These screens, on four islands in the room, are so large that in spite of the hall being generously spacious, they fill up the room. The spectator can feel small in their shadow. On the screens the masses march in honor of the dictator, people are violently oppressed and the imagery makes this museum’s point very clearly: the interwar period was marked by the very same conflict as that after the war until the Soviet Union collapsed and the Berlin wall fell. That single conflict that is posited as God’s-honest-truth-fact is between Western democracy and (any kind of) totalitarianism. The technically impressive format is meticulously balanced: two huge screens each for the horrific methods of Communism and Nazism. The similarity is indeed visually striking. Stalin and Hitler—in that order— are omnipresent in the midst of terror. As a climax, the hammer and the sickle are projected at the same time as the swastika in meticulously equal format.
Today’s edition of The Architects’ Journal (AJ) gracefully announces that Tszwai So, director of Spheron Architects, has been declared the winner of the “international competition to design a pan-European Memorial for the Victims of Totalitarianism.” Mr. So, named a rising star in British Architecture in 2016, is widely acclaimed as one of the most illustrious younger talents of European architecture in our time. Our team feels certain that he would be the first to wish to be apprised of an ulterior political program behind a seemingly neutral architectural project which will now be exploiting his reputation, and his firm’s, as well as his actual design, in promoting a political project that is vastly more controversial than meets the eye at first acquaintance.
Mr. So and Spheron Architects, like the other contestants, were most likely unaware that the sponsor of the competition, the Prague-based Platform of European Memory and Conscience, known for short in Eurocircles as the Prague Platform, is the prime European engine for the far-right movement of World War II history revisionism that is increasingly becoming known as Double Genocide. That phenomenon was recently among the main points of a New York Times article by Pulitzer Prize winning correspondent Rod Nordland concerning the “Genocide Museum” here in Vilnius, which has close ties with the “Prague Platform” in the pursuit of Double Genocide politics in the European Union.
Posted in Arts, Belgium, Double Genocide, EU, Human Rights, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform"
Tagged Double Genocide, Prague Declaration, Prague Platform for European Conscience, Spheron Architects, Tszwai So