Dark Tourism BLOG

This page is intended to provide a more flexible and also more interactive element to dark-tourism.com, which is otherwise more static (more like an encyclopedia). The idea came about after the DT page I used to curate on Facebook was suddenly shut down by the company (full story here). So I’m continuing here – with regular blog posts, either featuring particular dark-tourism destinations or marking specific days in dark history and sometimes reacting to current affairs that are in some way relevant to this site’s topic.

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wreckage from the Balkan wars

Balkan Belligerents

On this day, 29 years ago, on 25 June 1991, both Slovenia and Croatia declared themselves independent, marking the first proper secessions from the Yugoslav Federal state. This happened amidst rising tensions between different ethnicities and especially between Serbs and Croats, which eventually developed into war.

Slovenia got off comparatively lightly, with a military intervention by the Yugoslav army that lasted only 10 days and cost “only” 65 or so lives, before the country was reluctantly but effectively released into independence. The above photo shows a relic from that short war, namely a piece of wreckage of a Yugoslav helicopter that is on display in the generally excellent modern history museum in Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana.

In Croatia, on the other hand,

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Juneteenth – and the topic of slavery in dark tourism

Today is the 19th of June, celebrated as “Juneteenth” in the USA. Narrowly defined it commemorates a declaration of emancipation/freeing of slaves in Texas in 1865 on that date, but is now more generally celebrated to mark African Americans’ civil rights and freedom. Amidst the current Black Lives Matter protests, this date has been given an extra boost.

Regarding the subject of slavery, this also features in dark tourism. Sites related to the

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"17. Juni", Ulrich Hohenhaus

17 June

This date has historical significance for various reasons. E.g. it was the day when the last public execution by guillotine took place in France, as late as in 1939. The following year the three Baltic states fell under Soviet rule; while in 1967 China detonated its first thermonuclear test device on this date. But in Germany, the date is primarily remembered for the 1953 Uprising in the GDR, especially in East Berlin, which was brutally crushed by the Soviet military, even involving tanks, and was followed by mass arrests and dozens of executions.

In East Berlin, one of the main demonstrations took place outside

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38 Years since the End of the Falklands War

On this Day: 38 years ago, on 14/15 June (read on!) in 1982, the Falklands War ended with the surrender of Argentina.

The photo above shows an abandoned Argentine position near Wireless Ridge, north-east of Mt Longdon, not far from the islands’ capital Stanley. This position is comparatively well preserved. My guide even pulled out some hidden personal items left behind by the soldiers.

After showing me this

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Iconoclasm versus Interpretation

The photo above shows a plaque in Vienna commemorating Joseph Stalin’s short sojourn in this city as a young man. I’ve been reminded of this by the recent images on the news from the USA, where protesters are disfiguring or toppling monuments to former proponents of slavery and such like, in the wake of the unrest caused by the killing of George Floyd by police. Now, how do the topics of Stalinism and the Black Lives Matter movement go together, you may ask. Let me explain:

Make no mistake, I do understand the outrage of the protesters about the

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Anne Frank’s birthday

On this Day, 12 June, it is Anne Frank’s birthday. She would have been 91 today, so could quite possibly have been still alive now had she not been discovered, deported and eventually killed during the Holocaust.

Until August 1944, Anne and her Jewish family had been living successfully in hiding in Amsterdam, but were somehow betrayed, so that the SS did find them after all and deported them first to the transit camp of Westerbork, then to Auschwitz. Anne and her sister Margot were later transported to Bergen-Belsen, where both died, most likely

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