Eyewitness artists’ accounts of brutality in Nazi concentration camps are extremely rare. Sian Mackay describes her discovery of Rudolph von Ripper’s forgotten portfolio, work that deserves to stand alongside the art of his contemporaries Otto Dix, George Grosz and Käthe Kollwitz.
An artist’s eye-witness account of Hitler’s first concentration camp where academics, artists and political opponents of Nazism were imprisoned and tortured. An extract from Von Ripper’s Odyssey, Sian Mackay’s remarkable biography, gives a chilling insight into public acceptance of Hitler’s rise to power.
In Part 3 of his essay the author urges an end to utopian thinking: ‘Should we condone people like my father who yearn for Utopia and who believe we should give planned perfection one more try? No, these people are endlessly sailing their boats towards a non-existent goal and are making themselves and the rest of us unhappy.’
‘In this he follows those other utopian traditions of the French revolutionary great terror, the purges of Stalin and Mao. His walled island state now resembles North Korea. If he were to enforce his ideal of the human blank slate, then he would have arrived at Pol Pot’s ‘Year Zero’.’ Part 2 of the author’s essay on utopia(s)
‘Two years after the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s book, I see a resurgence in Utopian thinking in many countries and fear we could be on verge of taking a collective voyage to nowhere once again.’ Part One (of three) of an essay on utopia, millennialism, freedom, society, human nature – and Scotland.
‘Marx therefore helps us make sense of modern power relations after all. Then, as now, there is no contradiction between capitalism and crisis: it is a process of historical development and economic transition within the system.’
‘This shared commitment is so different in character from the imposition of any neo-liberal ‘structural adjustment programme’ of the past imposed by the international financial institutions, or any diktat of the powerful emerging from the Security Council or from any single power.’
Rory Scothorne explores the emergence of student radicalism in Scotland, arguing that the politicisation of Scottish students during the “1968 era” has left a lasting impression on Scottish politics and culture rather than the prevailing myth about 1968: it didn’t happen here.
The power of words was the theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day. Gordon Munro reports on how Jewish poets/authors and others wrote about and recorded the (hidden) atrocities occurring in 1942 onwards and asks today’s governments to match fine words with the right deeds to prevent any repetition.
‘We need to recognise the bawdy sense of mischief that was common currency in the tradition before it was swept aside by the religious revival in the 19th century. In contrast to the shortbread tin image of Highland culture, this sheds vital light on the past and the present – as Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair would have it, breasts, pricks, warts and all’.