Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 3:30 pm
LUXEXPO KIRCHBERG LUXEMBOURG, 2nd floor
Gabriel Becker, a retired professor of German, has been collecting testimonials, archive documents and memorabilia for the past twenty years to bring back to life the history of this prison camp. He is the author of four books on the subject:
- Le camp du BAN SAINT-JEAN (1941-1944), Lumière sur une honte enf(o)uie
- Le drame ukrainien en France (Moselle) (1941-1944), Mementote…
- Camp du Ban Saint-Jean, Moselle, La Revie
- Camp du Ban Saint-Jean Moselle, Nadejda : Espoir
He is vice-president and co-founder of the Association Franco-Ukrainienne (AFU) for the rehabilitation of the Ban Saint-Jean mass grave near Boulay, Moselle.
During his lecture, he will present the twists and turns of the dark history of this transit camp (300,000 prisoners) and death camp (22,000 dead).
Avdiivka is an industrial town in Ukraine, which borders the town of Donetsk controlled by pro-Russian militias. In the pre-war period, i.e. before 2014, cultural life was mainly concentrated in Donetsk. In Avdiivka there were only factories and dormitory towns. Since the summer of 2014, the inhabitants of Avdiivka have been living close to the front line.
A Ukrainian-patriotic couple, Svetlana and Oleksiy Savkevych, have been working since the beginning of the war to promote leisure activities for the young people of their town. In May 2018, they even managed to organise a festival of Ukrainian culture in Avdiivka.
This festival generated great interest in music among young people. That is why Oleksiy wanted to find and set up a music room for young people. It should be a space where young people could meet each other away from the streets and war, learn from each other and make music together.
In the beginning, the young people met in garages and abandoned houses and formed a rock band. They had poor quality guitars and only one old drum kit, which a local woman had given them as a gift. Broomsticks were used to hold the microphones. Oleksiy asked the city council and political leaders to give him a room where young people could continue to make music.
In December 2018, our association contacted Oleksiy Savkevich and offered to organise a charity concert for the benefit of young musicians in Avdiivka, so that the instruments could be financed. We then invited Oleksiy and his daughter Marika to our home. On March 24, 2019, we organized a big charity concert in Villerupt (France).
The day before, on 23 March, at the end of the mass in the church of Bascharage, Oleksiy spoke about the dangers and difficulties of daily life in Avdiivka, his hometown near the front. On this occasion, people also made donations to the project.
Thanks to the donations from Bascharage and the profits from the charity concert in Villerupt, we were able to buy the following equipment: three electric guitars, two acoustic guitars, a bass guitar, four amplifiers, a keyboard, a mixing table, two microphones, two stands and the necessary cables. The material was sent to Avdiivka at the end of December 2019. In the meantime, a large room in a school in the town has been made available to the young people for their “music room” project. They have renovated this room, and since January 2020 they have been playing music there in peace and freedom.
From the end of July to the beginning of September 2019, a young member of our association, Mr. Anselmo Malvetti, undertook a peace march from Lake Geneva to the shores of the Mediterranean. He thus wanted to draw attention to the Russian-Ukrainian war which, since 2014, has caused more than 14,000 deaths and has driven 1.5 million Ukrainians from their homeland. Most of them have taken refuge in free Ukraine.
Since the beginning of December it has been sold for 10€ (8€ for students). 100% of the profit goes to the victims of the wars that we help to rebuild their lives. On our website you can see examples of how we are helping them in a concrete way.
If someone still wants to buy a calendar, they can do so by ordering it by phone (+352 621 280 850) or by sending a text message, leaving their name and phone number.
On the 17th and 18th of December 2019 our association “Ad pacem” organized a cultural and educational trip to Alsace. Together with three teachers, twenty-five pupils from the Lycée de Garçons in Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg) visited the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp, the Alsace Moselle Memorial in Schirmeck and the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Visit of the concentration camp
Twenty-five pupils from the Lycée de Garçons d’Esch-sur-Alzette undertook an educational trip to Alsace on 17 December, accompanied by three teachers, Mr Claude Pantaleoni, Mr Christian Welter and Mrs Dora Almeida.
The first stop was a visit to the former Nazi concentration camp of Natzweiler-Struthof south of Strasbourg, where we arrived by bus at about 10.30 am. The whole site is a “national necropolis” where 22,000 people, mostly political deportees and resistance fighters, were murdered because of their opposition to the Nazi system. Many of approximately 400 Luxembourgers who were interned there also lost their lives.
We started the visit with the screening of a documentary film in a room of the museum, near the entrance of the camp. This gave us an overview of the history of the camp from its creation (first built by the Nazis to extract pink granite rocks for the monuments that Nazi architecture wanted to bring to the construction of German cities) until its liberation by the Allies. In the basement we visited an exhibition of photos of the war in relation to the concentration camp world of Nazi Germany.
Continue reading “Cultural trip to Alsace”
During the month of November 2019, Ukrainian Caritas in Dnipro, a city of millions in eastern Ukraine, contacted us to ask if we could send clothes, shoes and gifts to be distributed to about 40 refugee children aged 1 to 15 years.
Spontaneously, several members of our association donated clothes, shoes and gifts for this aid action. Two boxes of children’s clothes were given to us by the Red Cross Section of Villerupt (France).
The Greek-Catholic community of Dnipro organizes the help for the families who fled from the pro-Russian occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk. All fled for political and/or religious reasons.
On 15 December we sent five large cardboard boxes with a total of 80 kilos to Dnipro, which arrived there on Friday 20 December. Everything was distributed to the children, young people and parents.
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