Storgata 95

28. February 2008 - 1. March 2000

Mari Hildung

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.

The documentation "Untermensch"

The civilian population who lived near the POW camps or who for one reason or another encountered the prisoners, hid their tragic memories and told them to us. Two of the POWs who stayed in Norway after the end of the war were interviewed. One of them, Ivan Pashkurov, wrote the book “Tapte år” (Lost Years) about his experiences as a POW in Norway. Pashkurov’s stories tie together the elements in the exhibition. With a background in the memorabilia and objects that were made by soldiers in captivity, the exhibition Untermensch was opened in 1998.
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