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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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
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
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
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
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
The Nuclear Landscapes of the Polygon, Kazakhstan
A few years ago I had an extended exchange with a guy in Canada who did an intriguing project about the Polygon/Semipalatinsk Test Site (STS) in Kazakhstan, the place where the Soviet Union carried out the majority of its nuclear tests. The project was part of a master’s thesis in Landscape Architecture, at the University of Toronto, and proposed a number of structural “interventions” at the site, so a kind of commodification for visitors. It was envisioned that