Forced Walks Press Release

Forced Walks: Honouring Esther

We walk at a time and place of our choosing in solidarity with those who had no choice.

A two day artist-led walk-in-witness, 4 and 5 February, from the site of the slave labour camp, Judenlager “Waldeslust” in Hambuhren, Ovelgönne to the Bergen Belsen Memorial Museum, the 71st anniversary of the death march.

Forced Walks: Honouring Esther is working with the testimony of the Yiddish actor, Bundist and anti-fascist activist, Esther Brunstein. In August 1944 Esther was transported from Auschwitz with a group of Polish Jewish women to the slave labour camp at Hambuhren, Ovelgönne. On the 4th February 1945, the camp was cleared, those who survived were forced to walk to Bergen-Belsen camp. She was liberated from Bergen-Belsen to Sweden later in 1945.

Inspired by Esther’s story and her spirit of resistance, artists Richard White and Lorna Brunstein, Esther’s daughter, weave testimony, poetry and reflection through a 2 day journey generating further historic and contemporary human rights resonances. The walk takes the format of a secular pilgrimage with a series of themed stopping points, ‘stations’. At each ‘station’ walkers will pause to listen, record their thoughts, bear witness and share with the world. The artists offer an open invitation to participate in the project on foot or online.

The opening phase, a 2 day walk in Somerset, UK was completed in April on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Belsen and was followed by an exhibition of documentation and new work.