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Margot Pilz “Once upon my time – Java 1942″

06.02.2014 @ 10:00 - 02.03.2014 @ 18:00

© Margot Pilz/ Künstlerhaus

© Margot Pilz/ Künstlerhaus

“1939. I am almost three years old. I am Dutch and ride with my parents by ship to the Dutch East Indies . Our goal : the city of Semarang in Java, Indonesia . We want to start a better life in the colonies. And flee from the Nazis . We are doing well , very well . Yes , we hear about the war in Europe, but that is far away.

March 1942 : Japanese invasion of Java. They are allies of the German Empire and conquer effortlessly the Indonesian archipelago. My father is deported to Sumatra, to a concentration camp. My mother and I take refuge with friends in the mountains.

Mother , is arrested by the Japanese Gestapo, the Kempetai. As a native Austrian she is asked to wear the swastika. She refuses and comes after three days of solitary confinement with rats and cockroaches in a concentration camp . They seek friends. With an oxcart we drive around. In Lampersari we find them. What a reunion ! Now I ‘m behind barbed wire in concentration camps.

We eat a handful of rice a day, or soy slime with worms. Not enough for the kids. I ask my mother : Why am I so tired and fall asleep ? Answer: Because you ‘re hungry . She gives me the teaspoon of sugar we even get a week. A celebration!

In the big room showers I consider the curious women. You have lost so much weight that they have to increase their breast and belly skins aprons to wash underneath. We are nine in a tiny room , seven women and two children. The floor is of beaten earth . Boards and boxes are our warehouse. Our roommate : cockroaches , scorpions , snakes and tarantulas. In the morning we shake off our clothes .

The warehouse has 8,000 inmates. My mother is a street supervisor , may I go for lunch with a bell through our street and shout : Lampersari A – get food . I’m very proud of. We are continuously monitored – and punished. Once you find a hair dryer in a woman. Man rips her clothes off and hits her with a long whip – painful and bloody.

If the Japanese patrol , we must all bow towards Kaiser and recite a greeting in Japanese . A neighbor can not get up , it is too weak . She is brutally beaten up and locked up in a tiny junk room , without food or drink . At night we drill a hole through the wall , stuck a bamboo cane through and feed them with liquid mush. You survived !

The worst of punishments is the ” Gallows ” . Eight hours kneeling , a young bamboo in the knees , and stare at the sun . The hairs of bamboo grow in the skin and paralyze forever, the sun makes blind.Oft I see the evening open trucks full of curved bodies go out of the gate .

We have a radio. Broken down into component parts, we carry it around with us at night we build it together . I get a groin inflammation. One of my legs is shorter by four inches . Since I am called ” duck ” .

Knikkeren : So does that mean game of marbles in Dutch . In Stock , of course, we have no glass beads, but round stones . But I love this game . You shut me out . Because of my disability.

I have to work . For hours sitting on the ground, stomp rice in a mortar made ​​of stone. A typhoid epidemic breaks out. The sewer is clogged. We should fix the damage . Prostitutes login to this perilous work with hands and feet in the shit . They eliminate the dirt.

My mother has twice typhoid. I wash them and their sheets with cold water. The sheets were a challenge for my short arms . Morning roll call : pack your bags and bearing replacements . We march 14 hours to the next camp . Luggage we hardly , nevertheless it does not have many . We have arrived. Exhausted, we fall into the boards bunk beds . Plop , plop , plop . It is the sound of falling bugs. An inferno.

August 1945 : The war is over . Dutch aircraft flying over our camp . We are still in detention , but we must share our modest possessions with the local population . Of course, for food . I still have a couple of doll clothes . The I exchange against a chicken . This chicken is with me for a long time.” (the text ist taken from the K-Haus and translated to English)

Check Margot Pilz’ official website

Attention! – Longer opening hours on Thursdays (10 a.m – 9 p.m)


06.02.2014 10:00
02.03.2014 18:00
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+43 1 587 96 63
Karlsplatz 5, Vienna, 1010 Austria
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+43 1 587 96 63
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