When Dr. Schaefer first introduced the Skopp Project in class I was immediately interested because of my family's connection with World War II. Most of the men on my mother's side including my grandfather who fought on the beaches of Normandy brought or sent home memorabilia. This summer when we were cleaning out an old camp that used to belong to my Grandfather we found a box with a Nazi swastika eagle on it that was filled with various things containing swastikas. The box was very fresh in my mind when Dr. Schaefer introduced the project because I was very curious about, what actually happened in Nazi Germany. That is why i decided to participate in the competition, however that is not the motivation for my project.
What really gave me the idea was a movie that 1 watched in my HIS285 class entitled Night and Fog, which depicted what the remaining death camps really looked like. The first thing that I noticed in the movie was that everything in the camp was a straight edged rectangle, it interested me because I had never really thought about the actual process of what it takes to plan the extermination of a race. Everything was carefully calculated and figured out, nothing was left to chance. What I want people to really reflect on is how something as chaotic as the Holocaust can occur in places that were so carefully planned and organized.
My project is going to consist of a replica model of Auschwitz-Birkineau. I am going recreate the structures of the death camp on a scale thai everyone can grasp. The "ground" of the model is going to be a series of different poems that express some of the details of what occurred at that camp and different ideas that people have about the holocaust. Poems are the best way to get people to reflect and think about something because they in themselves have to be interpreted and reflected upon. The poems are also there to further demonstrate the chaos among the organization because of the ideas and feelings that they will express. The model of the camp shows the perfectly rectangular buildings while the poems scattered throughout represent the people and the ideas that died there and survived there. No one really ever thinks about the planning of the Holocaust, most think about how something like that could happen. The best way to understand how it happened through a visual aid is to depict the planning that went into it and show the destructive power of organized chaos. After all most people by nature are 50% logic and 50% chaos.
Mathers, Cara-Jean, "Organized Chaos" (2011). The Douglas R. Skopp Creative Competition on the Theme of the Holocaust. 3.