Tuesday, February 19, 2008

'11 Stops to Baghdad'

An exclusive peek at one of our images to be included in this months exhibition: '11 Stops to Baghdad' opening 8th March 6-9pm at Parlour Studios, Chalk Farm.

'Alex Schweitzer' 2008
Portrait by Tim Smyth

This image was taken at Alex Schweitzer's home in Blackheath.
Alex Schweitzer was born in Berlin in September 1939 just after the outbreak of the second world war. His father, sister and brother had emigrated to England before the outbreak of war. Alex’s mother, pregnant with Alex, and his two other siblings remained in Germany as the British Government did not offer to support her due delivery.

Both halves of the family survived, albeit the Berlin half having a great deal of luck,

“My brother and I always agree that we were fantastically luck not to get blown up”

Alex recalls a near miss he and his Brother had whilst playing in the garden at their home in Wannsee:

“We found a silver thing in the garden buried, we started digging around until my eventually noticed what we were doing and got the air raid warden, who called in the bomb disposal squad…if we’d dug in the wrong place we all would have been gone.”

Their house was burnt down with flamethrowers during the Russian advance in April 1945 the only surviving belongings left of the family’s past were buried in a suitcase in their garden by Alex’s brother before they fled their home.

At the end of August 1946 the Schweitzer’s were reunited at Victoria Station in London after a long journey by rail and army lorries across war torn Europe.

1 comment:

Sarah Bower said...

A wonderful story. That generation went thrugh so much to make the Europe we know. A shame if nationalistic jingoism were to tear it apart again. Fab photo, tim.