Transport XX - face to face. A short evocation of the TRANSPORT XX Installation in Brussels 2009, that confronted passers-by with 1200 portraits of Jews (from Belgium, Holland, and other countries) deported on this 20th train convoy from Belgium to Auschwitz on 19 April 1943. Many deportees managed to escape, among others when three young men stopped the convoy that night ...
This is a new edition of the film first published (see below) as "TRANSPORT XX - installation Brussels" via youtube.com/channel012
On April 19, 1943 at 10 p.m. the 20th train convoy departed the Dossin barracks (Kazerne Dossin) in Mechelen (Belgium) with 40 cattle cars crammed with 1631 Jewish men, women and children for Auschwitz (Poland). The in Belgium captured Jews were over 90% 'foreigners' (with no Belgian nationality) who either when war broke out or (many) years earlier had fled from mainly Eastern Europe, Germany and Holland to Belgium. Half an hour after the departure of this transport XX three young Belgians from Brussels, Youra Livschitz, Jean Franklemon and Robert Maistriau stopped the train between Boortmeerbeek and Haacht, opened one of the cars and liberated 17 prisoners. Later before the train reaches the German border over 200 other prisoners decide to attempt to escape and also jump out of the cars. In total 233 people attempted to escape, and 188 did succeed. Unfortunately also 26 were killed and 89 others recaptured and interned or put on future trains to Auschwitz. This 20th transport arrived at Auschwitz on April 22. Only 153 of those on board survived this death camp.
This was the only documented attack on a death train during the Shoah.
Marjan Verplancke and other co-workers of the
Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance (JMDR)
in Mechelen (Belgium) and project "Give them a Face"
The Kazerne Dossin ( kazernedossin.eu/ ) digitalised the photo's of the Dossin prisoners, that mostly are from the "National State Archives of Belgium. Ministry of Justice, Public Safety Office, Foreigner's Police, individual files"
( arch.be/ )
With the ‘Give Them a Face’ project the Kazerne Dossin aims to bring together as many portraits of deportees from the Dossin barracks in Mechelen as possible and give them back their face - and the memory alive.
1) Making of the film:
Note that this movie originally started as pure registration - in a few 'long takes' - of these quite overwhelming visual impressions from my first encounter with this installation (not yet aware actually of the factual history of these portraits). Only the next day, after completing the capturing of 4 long takes while walking back and forth the rows of portraits - did I read the caption halfway the installation, and first became aware of these facts: the history and 'identity' of the portraits and this 'transport'. This prompted the idea for this visual account with the superimposed montage of the imagery of two of the takes, combined with the ambient sound (with of the lowest levels of wind noise) of a third take.
2) First screening:
The first edition of this film ("TRANSPORT XX - installation Brussels") - link: youtube.com/watch?v=jmWx4_cdNpY - was published on 19 april 2009 via YouTube - and that version was also added in 2009 to the collection of the Dossin Barracks / Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance (Mechelen, Belgium). More details posted at imichel.com
3) This new edition of the film ("Transport XX - face to face") has some minor editing errors corrected, and a new title and credits. This edition was first published October 2010 in the 7th round of the New Arrivals 2010 / 2011 of the NTR broadcaster (ntr.nl). Link: kortefilmonline.ntr.nl/page/detail/newarrivals/video/788830/transport-xx---face-to-face
4) one-minute cut:
A reworking (one-minute cut) of this film was presented in
Amsterdam (Holland) in Paradiso on Nov 28, 2010 at the festival "The One Minutes - Where history starts ..."