The model for this project involves discovering the route of a death march and abstracting it to a place and time of our choosing. Survivor testimony and historical records can help identify a route.
This tutorial offer an overview of the process, using scribblemaps:
Scribblemaps links directly with googlemaps so that its easy to share your route in a simple format. When we do the walk we will be linking social media accounts through Viewranger and Social Hiking. More on that soon
The example, best viewed in full screen, uses the march from the work camp at Ovelgonne to Belsen as remembered by Esther Brunstein with additional research. The route, apart from the key moments that Esther remembers, has been developed on the basis of roads and tracks that can be seen on a map. The tutorial version has not been taken to that level of detail but zoom in close in your scribblemap and you will get to that level of detail. This route has not been ‘groundtruthed’. There were much longer death marches than the one Esther was forced to undertake and some from which there were no survivors. This one is of particular resonance to the artists.
We request that participating walkers use a method such as this to maintain the shape, scale and orientation of an historic route to devise a contemporary walk.
Using scribblemaps the line of that route has been transposed to England and a contemporary route has been drawn on rights of way running as close as possible to the line of the historic route. We choose to walk on roads and footpaths rather then strictly following the historic line. You can check rights of way using OS maps or tiles in the Viewranger or similar app. The end of the historic route ‘Belsen’ is bound to the map at a place of our choosing, scribblemaps maintains scale and orientation. The start of the contemporary walk is determined by the start of the line of the historic route, in the case of Esther’s Walk this will be at the edge of Frome, Somerset. The contemporary route has now been ‘ground truthed’ ahead of the public walk.
The intersections between the historic, imagined and actual, route will we hope generate interesting and challenging coincidences as the past mixes with the present, an empathetically imagined experience mixes with the physical reality of a walk, a terrible anniversary clashes with world events.