Oil Paintings Gallery
|The bombing of Guernica
Here is the terror of evil times, expressed through human suffering and dread.
One of the most emotive events of the Spanish Civil War,
and the inspiration for one of Pablo Picasso's best-known paintings,
the destruction of Guernica was the first occasion in which a town was wiped out by aerial bombardment.
Most people today do not even know that the ancient Basque village Guernica exits,
let alone that during the Spanish Civil War when Franco's army was often assisted by Germany,
the Nazi General Goering's policy was to use the Spanish Civil War as an arena for trying
out the airmen and planes of his new Luftwaffe.
In 1937 the Condor Legion which were the best trained and most experienced airmen of the Luftwaffe,
failed to score a single hit on the bridge, the presumed target.
The dubious intent of the mission is evident; it was wanton, man-made holocaust: the
ancient Basque village suffered the loss of a third of its citizens who were senselessly slaughtered or wounded
in little more than three hours.
From 4:30 to 7:45 in the evening the squadron poured an uncontested, continuous rain of bombs and gun fire on Guernica.
Although normal procedure would have been to observe the fall of the bombs and record the exact location of their explosion,
there are no reports of accuracy for this mission. Villagers who were not immediately killed fled to the fields to take refuge, only to be ravaged by plunging machine gun fighters.
The world was stunned and sickened when Hitler's Condor Legion bombed the defenceless Spanish village of Guernica,
yet the world did nothing to punish the aggressors.
On the contrary, the barbarians were 'rewarded' with Austria and the Sudetenland.
That infamous day in Euskadi, the Basque Country, legitimised the murder of non-combatants of all sexes and all ages. As someone remarked,
"Evil thrives when good men stay silent"
Note: On May 12, 1998, the New York Times reported that, after sixty years,
the German Parliament formally apologized to the citizens of Guernica for the role the Condor Legion played in bombing the town
but no formal apology to the city has ever been offered by the Spanish government for whatever role it may have played in the bombing.
forgotten holocaust: Nanking
The Nanking massacre
On December 13, 1937, Nanking, the capital city of Nationalist China fell to the Japanese.
The City was sacked and in just a few weeks it was ravaged by
Japanese conquering armies who declared that all Chinese women were prostitutes and fair targets for rape.
Over 300,000 Chinese were brutally murdered,
buried alive, raped, and tortured - a death toll exceeding that of
the atomic blasts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The world watched, sighed and did nothing.
During World War II concentration camps were established
by the Nazi regime beginning with Dachau
in 1933, to imprison "enemies of the state."
They served as prisons, forced labor camps, or extermination
centers, particularly the death factories of Belzec, Chelmno, Sobibor, and Treblinka,
as well as in the killing sections in Auschwitz and Majdanek (also called Lublin).
Prisoners included the political opposition, dissenting clergy, undesirable ethnic groups,
such as Jews and Gypsies, homosexuals, and numerous others classified simply as "antisocials" or "useless mouths."
Auschwitz - Heap
This picture is dedicated to all those people who were deported to concentration camps
and who were forced to work and live in inhuman conditions.
was more than a camp; in fact it was a vast complex consisting of more than 40 satellite
camps: it was a prison camp, a labor camp, an industrial center and a death camp.
The complex included the I.G. Farben Buna rubber plant, the Monowitz camp where Primo Levi was held,
the main Auschwitz camp (Auschwitz I) and the Birkenau (Auschwitz II) extermination camp,
where the majority of mass murders by poison gas took place.
"Living conditions" is a poor way to describe the way prisoners were forced to live in concentration camps.
The German policy was "death by work".
Stripped of their individuality, prisoners were subject to unbearable conditions that eventually led to their death.
Hunger and starvation rations, sadism, housing facilities, inadequate clothing, medical neglect, disease,
beatings, freezing, all played a major role in the organic deterioration that prisoners had to experience.
This led to the so-called "Muzulman" state, extreme physical exhaustion that ended in death.
Many inmates found that the day of liberation, the day that loomed so large in hopes and dreams,
brought a curious emptiness of its own. As Henry Wermeuth, an Auschwitz survivor, described liberation day,
"I was lying wrapped in my blanket in the Block. Someone else was looking out the window,
and I heard him say in Yiddish, 'An American soldier.' I didn't get up. I didn't move. I lay there.
The feeling cannot be described. You would have to make up a new word. 'I've done it. I've made it.'
But then I thought: who has survived? I, alone. My father had just died. My sister and my mother were gone.
I covered my head and wept. That was the moment of my liberation."
Miguel Montesinos describes the liberation of Dachau:
"All they wanted to do was get out and go home. And a lot of them did get out... The gates were
wide open then, and a lot of them were confused. They didn't know what to do. Some of them
couldn't walk and they were looking for direction, but there was no direction we could give them at all."
Stripped of the last scraps of their dignity, prisoners are dying.
Their camp has been liberated, they are free. More dead than alive, these prisoners don't know
where to go or what to do.
Horrified and disgusted by the brutal conditions, the liberators
found it difficult to understand all those people who pushed, screamed, clawed for food, smelled bad.
It was just like walking in a cemetary except for the fact that people were still alive.
Life was stolen, and we allowed this to happen.
Masses of twisted and entangled bodies stripped of their dignity were thrown into a piles left to rot.
Even those who were buried were given the minimal respect.
malnutrition, the total lack of hygiene and medical care, and the brutality of the SS guards
were the main causes of the death of thousands of prisoners.
Tragedies in countries like Cambodia
, Yugoslavia and
perhaps prove that the will to genocide
is stronger than the sobering lessons of history.
The exponential growth of communications media, particularly the Internet,
ensure that the world will never again be blind to mass murder and genocide.
The world's response to future incidents of mass murder and genocide still remains difficult to predict.
People can easily adjust to a tragedy that does not involve them directly or the people they love.
Although we can be greatly moved by events, they are immediate eruptions to horrible situations.
It doesn't take long to forget, perhaps the very same evening.
May the suffering of all genocide victims impact the hearts and minds of people, making them aware of
the consequences of hatred, indifference and apathy which continues to manifest itself today.
paintings on WAR