Two sculptures stretch through the long corridor where Death Cell 601 is located. The metal frames form an echo of the sealing above; the frames hold hundreds of portraits from the Death Books, printed on a semi transparent paper. With each step towards Death Cell 601 we pass the sculpture and we see different faces of the people who stayed here more then seventy years ago. The faces, one follows the other sometimes alternating with grey frames (a symbol for the victims still missing) seem to give a scale to Oranjehotels history.
Doodenboek / Oranjehotel
“Oranjehotel” was the popular name for a part of the prison in Scheveningen (near The Hague), in use by the Germans during the Second World War. Throughout the war, 25.000 resistance fighters and other Dutch people who resisted the German occupationwere imprisoned in the Oranjehotel, while their case was treated by the Nazi courts of justice. After sentencing the prisoners were either liberated, sent to German concentration camps or executed at the nearby Waalsdorpervlakte. The 215 prisoners that were executed spent their last days in the death cells in the middle row of cells, the D-row. Early in the morning they would leave the prison to a small gate (het Poortje) to be brought to the Waalsdorpervlakte for execution..
After the war, special monuments were created in the Oranjehotel. In row D of the cell complex one of the death cells has been kept in its original state and is called “Death Cell 601”. Even the writing of the prisoners on the walls were kept – impressive statements of fear and suffering.
‘Het Poortje’ a small gate in the long prison wall along the Van Alkemadelaan is opened only once a year, when the participants of the annual Commemoration enter the complex through it. The Death Books, which contain the names and biographies of the executed former prisoners, form a unique paper monument for the Oranjehotel and are placed in Death Cell 601 during the Commemoration. On the outside prison wall a commemorative plaque with the words “Zij waren eensgezind”, “They were united” was placed.
‘Doodenboek’ will be on permanent display from the 5th of May 2015 at the Oranjehotel Scheveningen Prison, the Hague. Visit: by appointment only www.oranjehotel.org
240 HP prints on semi tranparant paper, Perspex, metal
Dimensions: H x W x D
90 x 65 x 800 cm
90 x 65 x 800 cm