During the period 1996-98, Perspektivet Museum carried trough the project “Untermensch”. Extensive memorabilia was collected, interviews were held with people who lived near the POW camps and with Russians who stayed in Norway after the end of the war, and objects that the POWs left behind.
The exhibition “Untermensch” was divided into two parts, an informative part with a historic introduction to the theme, and a narrative part based on individual stories, including from Ivan Pashkurov’s book “Tapte år” (Lost Years). Central in the exhibition were familiar statements from Nazi propaganda about Russians as an inferior people, put in contrast to traditional, Russian choral singing with truly glorious voices. Each individual object was presented in connection with the owner’s personal experiences and account about the object’s origin. Some of the objects had considerable artistic qualities, despite the conditions under which the prisoners were forced to live.
“Untermensch” became a gripping story about indomitable creative enthusiasm and the courage to live, but also an agonising reminder of the atrocities of war. The exhibition’s humanistic perspective was stressed during a number of visits by students, where racism and prejudices as mechanisms for repression were in focus.