About Sound in the Silence 2019
30 September - 7 October 2019, Denkort Bunker Valentin memorial, Bremen
Sound in the Silence is an interdisciplinary remembrance project aimed at encouraging high school students from around Europe to actively reflect on the difficult aspects of the 20th century history with the use of artistic means.
Each edition takes place in a carefully selected location. This year’s participants – 3 groups, 7 pupils and 1 teacher each – will travel to “Denkort Bunker Valentin” memorial in Bremen, Germany where they will explore the history of the former construction site of the Nazi Valentin submarine factory, with a special focus given to the topic of unfree labor.
Drawing on their reflections and emotional reactions to what they will come to learn there, young students will work together with professional artists to create a performance based on acting, dance, music and creative writing.
While the pupils learn about the site's past and work on the final performance, their teachers will take part in workshops on interdisciplinary ways of teaching history so as to exchange experiences with peers from different countries.
About the memorial
The former submarine bunker "Valentin" is the second largest above ground bunker in Europe and the most visible legacy of three major Nazi armament projects that have transformed a predominantly agricultural region since the mid-1930s.
The German Navy began the construction of the submarine bunker "Valentin” in mid 1943. Up to 10,000 forced laborers - civilian forced laborers from Eastern and Western Europe, Soviet prisoners of war, Italian military internees, concentration camp prisoners and inmates of the labor re-education camps of the Bremen Gestapo - were working under extreme pressure day and night on the enormous construction site.
Approximately 2,000 laborers died as a result of the physically strenuous work, inadequate care and inhumane living conditions in the camps. Only 1329 victims are known by name.
After the war the bunker was used by the Allies as a target for bomb tests. Later, demolition plans failed and it became an adventure playground for local children. Towards the end of the 1950s the German Army took over the site for use as a training ground. From the 1960s until 2010, the bunker was used by the German Navy as a supply depot.
In 2011, the former Nazi German submarine bunker "Valentin” became the “Denkort Bunker Valentin” memorial, the site began serving a civilian function for the first time in its almost seventy-year history. The memorial offers a broad range of programs that encouraging visitors to actively and critically examine the bunker’s past, present and future and to explore its surroundings.
About this year's theme
During the Second World War, about 13,5 million men, women and youth, including civilians, prisoners of war and concentration camp inmates, became slave workers for the German Nazis. The exploitation of unfree workforce was common and took place in many different industries, from farming and administration to construction, manufacturing and arms production.
One of the locations to which forced labourers were assigned was bunker “Valentin” – massive construction site of a submarine pit in Bremen, Germany. Between 1943 and 1945, about 10.000 people from all across Europe were coerced to work there, turning the bunkered submarine shipyard into a horrific, complex microcosm within a larger Nazi system of division and unfree labour.
During this year’s edition of the Sound in the Silence project, the participants will focus on the individual experiences of men and few women who were deprived of their freedom and forced to work against their will at bunker’s construction site. A special attention will be given to the various social and psychological coping strategies which the people in question developed, often against all odds. Supporting others and trying to preserve interpersonal relations; keeping a diary; getting bread from civilian workers; creating art – these are some of the ways in which forced workers tried to counteract exhaustion, malnourishment and oppression. Among the stories which will be explored during the educational workshops, one will find these of the Italian soldier Elio Materassi; young Polish civilian Stanisław Masny, as well as concentration camp inmates – Spyros Pasaloglou from Greece and the Frenchman Maurice Cordonnier. Meanwhile, experiences of Klaas Touber, Dutch forced labourer, and Andre Migdal, a Jewish concentration camp inmate from France will show that the fight for dignity for former unfree workers continued also after the Second World War.Historical context: Bunker Valentin
Historical context: Forced labour
Glossary of key terms
Dan Wolf is an actor, rapper, playwright, director, producer and educator. His work crosses artistic and cultural borders to combine conventional theater styles with the themes, language, music, history and aesthetics of the Hip-Hop generation. Dan is a founding member of the critically acclaimed Hip Hop music and theater collective Felonious and Artistic Director of Sound in the Silence. His play “Angry Black White Boy”, based on the novel by Adam Mansbach, premiered at Intersection for the Arts in October 2008, ran for 12 sold-out weeks and was named Top Ten Best Theater Plays by the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner. His play “Beatbox: A Raparetta” (co-authored with Tommy Shepherd) has been produced in San Francisco, Oakland, Petaluma, Germany, and at the New York Hip Hop Theater Festival. “Beatbox” is published by TCG in the Hip Hop Theater anthology “Plays from the Boom Box Galaxy”. His play “Stateless: A Hip Hop Vaudeville”, a hip-hop and beatbox infused theatrical collaboration with Tommy Shepherd, balancing German and Jewish history with the problems of racism and the African American experience, has been produced in San Francisco, Hamburg and New York. Dan co-created and performed in “Block By Block,” a multi-disciplinary performance that brought a San Francisco block party into the de Young Museum. Dan’s play “Anansi the Spider”, created in collaboration with Tommy Shepherd, toured to Bay Area schools for Marin Theater Company in 2012. Dan is part of a team of artists that adapted “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop”, Jeff Chang’s seminal book on Hip Hop culture, for the stage at Z Space in San Francisco in January 2016. Dan is developing “Curren$y”, a hip hop adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”.
Sean Palmer (1977) trained in theatre and arts in Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. He has been a part of the Warsaw theatre and performance scene since 2000 traversing night clubs to national museums, Ancient Greek musical reconstruction to Broken Beat MC, fringe experiments to opera, solo shows and television, evangelist concerts to vocal improvisation, avant-garde to mainstream. He is an active creator, collaborator and educator. Since 2008 he has lived permanently in Warsaw, PL. He began his own experimental choir in 2010 called GRE BADANIE exploring the boundaries of sound and energy as a carrier of meaning, it is still active. Since 2014 he has been the resident artistic director/conductor of the POLIN museum community choir which performs two new performative concerts yearly. Currently he is preparing the 40 strong choir to perform Philip Glass’s “Knee Plays” as well as a performative reading of the materials found in the temporary exhibition “Estranged: March ’68 and It’s Aftermath.” Sean is not a trained musician, however, has found himself composing for theatre and choirs as well as singing and recording in multifarious settings. Since 2015 he is the front man of the White Kites (psyche rock) and from 2013 The All Stars Dansing Band (just plain rubbish). This year he’s recording the second album with the White Kites (Oct 2018) and has just finished an album featuring texts by William Blake entitled “William’s Things” (Sept 2018). The major through line in his work is musicality or sounding. The search for the thing which can move us together regardless if it is a beat, a note a yelp or a growl, because sound can often go where words fail. Apart from all the above ‘arty stuff’, he’s also a big kid, a dad and a husband, has one child, two cats, loves running and doesn’t eat animals.
Katarina Rampackova is a choreographer, performer, teacher and dance activist born in Kosice, Slovakia. After studying physical theater at Scuola Teatro Dimitri in Switzerland, she graduated Master of Arts in choreography at Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. Currently she lives in Barcelona, where she works together with her colleague Laura Alcala Freudenthal on a dance project for and with children as a facilitator and choreographer, as well as educator. In Kosice she runs a project called ‘Priestor Súčasného Tanca’ (A space of Contemporary Dance), which helps create the community of contemporary dance in Kosice and integrate it in a public life. Katarina also works on different performative projects with Slovak and foreign artists from other fields.
About schools taking part
Scientific school of Split (Prirodoslovna škola Split)
Prirodoslovna škola Split is a state science high school with about 560 students and 50 teachers. The students are from 14 to 19 years old and they come from the whole region. The curriculum of the school is based on European standards and values, including an emphasis on social studies and volunteer work. The school employees aim to engage the pupils in various leisure activities and cultivate a close relationship with the local community. The students are involved in different activities, such as assisting the disabled and elderly people, cleaning streets and public parks, helping animals, participating in local feminist associations etc. The school promotes global citizenship by teaching about different European nations and their cultures; the pupils take English and Latin classes and can also choose to learn Italian or French.
International American School of Warsaw
The International American School of Warsaw opened 1989 as the first international school in Poland. While we are a relatively small school with approximately 180 students, we have an incredibly diverse student base with over 40 nationalities represented. We have a strong sense of community spirit and inclusion, which has made our school such an enjoyable place for students to learn.
School philosophy is as simple as it is challenging: work together, grow together. We see ourselves as a partner for our students and their families, and learn from each other in an atmosphere of mutual respect and inspiration. We strive to motivate one another for the goals of individual and collective development. The school’s educational aims are reflected upon regularly and based upon shared values of understanding, critical thought, creativity, tolerance, communication, responsibility and integrity.
Carl von Ossietzky Schulzentrum Gymnasiale Oberstufe
The school is located in Bremen, Germany.
Read about the project