Alps Art Academy

Viele von ihnen weinten (many of them cried)

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Viele von ihnen weinten (many of them cried)

Christoph Solstreif-Pirker

Berghotel Alpenblick, Tenna – GPS: 46.746727, 9.339001


Vielen von ihnen weinten (Many of them cried) is an artistic research project that deals with Polish internees’ history in Switzerland during the Second World War. During their stay in Switzerland, the internees lived outside the villages in isolated internment camps and, for a low wage and with considerable restrictions, were used, among other things, to build roads and trails. The trail from Turrahus to the Tomülpass, at the end of the Safiental, is a silent testimony of these people’s labor. The project aims to make their traumatized voices audible and bring them to “the center of the universe” – the church of Tenna. As part of an investigative performance, stones along the path were carefully dug up, brought into the village, and placed on the church organ’s keyboard. A sound became audible for the first time that spoke of tears and grief, but also of hope and humanity. This sound was first performed on 1 October 2020 from 7:00 to 8:30 a.m. and is no longer audible. However, the project was documented and still manifests through four holes along the trail to the Tomülpass.