Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Museum of Genocide Victims, Vilnius

One of the most affecting places I visited in Vilnius was the old "Hall of Justice." This large and outwardly elegant civic building was first commandeered by the Russian army, then the Nazis, and then the Russian KGB in succeeding decades as Lithuania fell to one empire after another. Today housing the Museum of Genocide Victims, the building's main floor details the Russian occupations, and in the basement the prison has been restored to its former grimness. There are solitary confinement cells, interrogation rooms, torture rooms, and the claustrophobic execution chamber in the sub-basement. Here political prisoners, "undesirables," and of course some Jews were held before their final fate. Chilling to say the least. Outside, visiting schoolchildren (!) have posted their emotional drawings of the war years that they were fortunate enough to have been born after.

Entry hall, with communication room, library, medical station, guard room

Hall of cells

Padded walls, straitjacket

Hall of "exercise cells" - just like regular cells but with no roof.

From inside a cell

A layer of paint for each regime. I'm intrigued by the frames they've put around some of the peeling patches.

Last view from going into Solitary

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ladies of the Baltics

For Weekend in Black and White I offer a handful of candid portraits taken on my August trip to Northeastern Europe.
Begging, Daugauvpils, Latvia

Shopping, Vilnius, Lithuania

Exercise, Tukums, Latvia

Alone, Vilnius

Hope, Vilnius

Fatigue, Kaunas, Lithuania