Siobhan Tarr, based in Bad Oldesloe in Germany has been working with young people on a project responding to an initiative by Lauenburg Arts. Artists were asked to consider the meaning of war memorials and the German ‘’Volkstrauertag’’ (Rememberance Day). Volkstrauertag – People’s Day of Mourning, commemorates those from all countries’, military and civilian, who have died either in or as a result of armed conflicts, or as victims of violent oppression and tyranny separate from a war situation.
The organisers wanted to engage with young people on the project, which would culminate in a Symposium providing the artists and the young people involved an opportunity to present their work. Working alongside artist Siobhan Tarr, the young people looked into themes of WW1 such as local stories . An historian from the town archives spoke to the young people about how the town of Ratzeburg (where they live) and its folk were affected by the First World War. The young people visited a local war memorial as well as visiting the local soldier’s graveyard
It was in a church in Ratzeburg, that the young people and Siobhan met an older couple who spoke to the young people about their war experiences and their parents, who witnessed the First World War. It was during this session Siobhan produced a couple of postcards, bought in a flea market with writing using the old “suetterlin” script which is not used anymore. The lady was able to translate both postcards.
The postcard showing the ‘’officers barber’’ is postmark dated: 08.11.1915 and was sent from a soldier named Jos Dorr who was employed as a “krankenträger” (one who carrys the injured on stretchers) of the: 10th company of the 3rd Battalion 2nd Prussian division of the 9th Bavarian general infantry Brigade, 5th Army Trench.
Dear Fraulein Emma!
I kept your card with your address on it which I thank you for very much . I´m still healthy, which I hope you are too Emma and I hope all is fine with your parents and brothers and sisters. I wonder if we´ll have to put up with being here the whole of the winter since it´s freezing cold here. Lets pray to dear God for a final victory so we may see each other again Soon. Greetings to you Emma, your parents, brothers and sisters and a special greeting goes to Pepi.
Greetings to you from Jos Dorr, Krankenträger
p.s. greetings to all my acquaintances
that here is our barbers
The symposium took place November 8th 2014, Mail Art from young people in the UK, Australia and Germany was displayed. The organisers of the symposium have used some of the Mail Art designs as posters and will be stuck up on bill boards and signs for the 16th November Volkstrauertag. Some of the posters will be on display in the soldiers graveyard, Ratzeburg. The church in County Lauenburg has chosen to use one of the Mail Art designs from Australia by Sabrina for the invitation which will be sent out promoting this years Volkstrauertag.