Web-documentary ‟Im Märkischen Sand”
The interactive web-documentary “Im Märkischen Sand” (In the sand of the Mark) commemorates the April 1945 massacre of 127 Italian forced laborers in Treuenbrietzen . As part of a photo series within the project, documentation from the archive of the International Tracing Service (ITS) illustrates the NS bureaucracy of forced labor.
On 23 April 1945 German soldiers herded together 131 Italian forced laborers into a sand pit near Treuenbrietzen outside Berlin and shot them dead. Four of them survived the mass shooting, among them Antonio Ceseri, the last contemporary witness. The project “Im Märkischen Sand“, produced both in Italian and German language versions, documents the massacre, and in doing so brings to the fore the fate of the 650,000 ′Italian Military Internees′ (IMI) in Germany, the difficult procedures involved in coming to terms with a war crime and the long process of transnational remembrance in Germany and Italy.
Interactive, with remarkable illustrations
An interactive web-documentation shows video sequences – some with illustrations – about the events of 23 April 1945. In a tapestry of interviews and stories of personal experiences, contemporary witnesses and their family members as well as various protagonists from Germany and Italy have the chance to speak, shedding light on the topic from different perspectives. Additionally, context information about German-Italian relationships, the economy of war, forced labor, liberation and repatriation is provided. The viewer can click on different photos and see, inter alia, diary entries, biographical sketches, and historical footage. In preparing the project the editorial team carried out research in several different archives, including the ITS. The ITS provided images of the documents on forced labor and the fates of those who were incarcerated. In a photo gallery titled „Bürokratie und Zwangsarbeit“ (Bureaucracy and Forced Labor) examples can be seen of the many transport lists and sick lists that are preserved in the ITS and that illustrate the extent of forced labor as an organized mass crime committed by the NS Regime. Documents from the early post-war years provide evidence of the Allies’ active commitment to gather information about the graves of murdered forced laborers in order to help clarify the fates of victims of Nazi persecution.