catrin bolt


memorial for the st. pölten-viehofen forced labour camps

It is not generally known that there were two forced labour camps in Viehofen near St. Pölten from 1944 to 1945. A gravel pit was in operation on the grounds from 1967, where quarrying led to the creation of two lakes. Following the cessation of quarrying on the site, in 2003 the St. Pölten local authorities converted it into a recreational area. It was only in 2005 that the existence of the camps was substantiated by a survivor's testimony. As is shown in an aerial photograph taken by the US Air Force in 1945 there was a camp with 126 Jews situated under what is today a lake. Catrin Bolt has mounted large panels at five different locations that show these aerial photographs. A red dot shows visitors their current location. The camps are numbered and explained with a key along with other significant locations on the banks of the river Traisen, the regulation of which was carried out with forced labour. The panels are, in part, embedded in the landscape so that they guide the view towards the labour camps. The past and the present overlap here. Catrin Bolt avoids modes of pathos or artistic self-referentiality and promotes a conscious engagement with the history of the location by casually guiding the gaze to what is no longer visible.
(Cornelia Offergeld)
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