Approaching the Nightmarish…
This collection came to life after visiting the former Nazi Concentration Camp, KL Auschwitz.
I visited as a tourist intrigued by the events there in the early 1940s but left consumed by everything I’d seen. 18 months later and I’m still no closer to understanding any of it.
The Railway People is my way of remembering the victims of the Holocaust.
I returned 5 times to try and better understand the atrocities committed there. On my last visit I traveled with Survivor of Auschwitz, Eva Moses Kor, who had agreed to contribute to this project in the winter of 2015. We decided to record my poem, How Could It Be, on the site where she last saw her family over 70 years ago on the Selection Platform of Auschwitz Birkenau.
It was an incredible moment to return there with Eva. I will remember it forever and her contribution to this project has been immense, as you’ll hear on At the Top of the Stairs.
The wind made it hard to record in such a vast open space as Birkenau, but we persisted and achieved what we’d set out to do which was to create something positive from such bleak circumstances.
I had no idea what these songs and words would represent when they were finished but I know now there’s no closure to be found. There’s no comfort to be taken from contributing to the memory of the lost. There’s only shock and numbness from what I encountered. My hope is that younger generations from every future era ensure that this place is never forgotten, never repeated and always recognised as a symbol of senseless violence.
R. Meade August 2016.