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Despite grass allergy I stand in the Pampa - in the middle of the green.
From the highway I came to roads, to asphalted roads without lane markings, to bogged down roads, to bumpy, dusty gutters. The grass reached up to the window. Arriving again at a road I have to turn around - we have passed.
Arriving at Maurinmühle, I recognize remnants of structures. Trees in a narrow row, a supposedly rectangular grassy area, remains of walls in the ground, cherry trees. Areas that can be visually separated from each other betray a former use. And someone is taking care of the place without reusing it. In places the lawn is mowed. The overgrowth is to a degree that the place does not look neglected and yet does not invite one to stay. Behind the tiny red brick ruin is space to pause for a moment.
Across the way, a pond of sorts is hidden between straight lines of trees. The water's surface is bubbly, shimmering and evoking associations with monsters and spooky fairy tales, though the sunshine leaves a glint that dazzles.
Fairytale-like. Somehow, it's strange and fairy-tale-like here. The quiet is eerie to me. I hear wind, insects and birds, but not civilization.
The attempt to take a closer look at the garden-like structure is prevented by densely grown, waist-high grasses.

What am I doing here?
We want to do an art project on this place and the question of how to deal with history and memory. So I should take a look at this place first.
But, what am I doing here?
I have heard about the history of this place. Now I am standing here and I have the feeling to disturb. The place is healing itself. It just needs some more time.
I remember what "letting grass grow over a thing" means and suddenly I am very unsure if that is what I think is right. Should we let a place like this heal? Remembering atrocities of the past always means keeping a scar - keeping wounds open for a while. Without memory, we are doomed to repeat history. What does a healthy approach to history look like? Do we need to re-traumatize ourselves and future generations to create understanding?
I stand in the green and know scraps of history by hearsay. I puzzle together an overview from various documents and project my supposed knowledge onto a place I've driven by. Am I in the right place? Perhaps, given the horror stories, we overlook the fact that people tried to create a refuge here in the midst of dark times. Perhaps, in addition to the child-murdering director of the children's home, there was someone working there who brought a kind word, a hug, an encouraging story into the daily lives of the charges? Maybe at every stage of this object there was someone who tried to make it a "home"?

And as I search for hope, for relief for myself, I realize that I am putting each person's suffering into perspective. I can't know about the boys who helped the leader bathe a 14-year-old as punishment, who then died in the process. I don't know who they were, if they are alive today, if they would be willing to talk to anyone about it, or even if they have. Least of all, I know if I would want to know. These life-altering experiences would suddenly affect me. I couldn't dismiss them like a story I read somewhere or saw on film. Even they become part of my personal experiences and therefore of my identity! The closer I get to these people, to this place, the more its story becomes my being. Do I want my life to have something to do with this place? Can I reject that the history of this place has something to do with me, when I have heard and know?

Do I automatically become part of a history as soon as I have had contact with it and my interaction with it perpetuates it, can be healing or deepening of unhappiness?
There is and was so much unbearable in this world, should I not rather devote myself to alleviating and avoiding current suffering? Can I even do such a thing without knowing history? Doesn't the avoidance of current suffering include the knowledge of it, which we can only acquire by confronting, i.e.

Ai - translated - version

making visible, the past? Dealing with injustice is not only a matter of gut feeling, which believes to recognize such injustice, but also a mental examination and classification, as well as dealing with alleged perpetrators and a social morality, which legitimizes or prohibits punishments. If every perpetrator can potentially also be a victim, dealing with suffering caused by people has other consequences, also in the historical reappraisal of events, than a simple, black-and-white perpetrator-victim thinking. And I know the events of this place mainly from hearsay! One of the main scandals of this place is the multiple, by different regimes prevented processing of its history and now there are hardly survivors!

For whom do we actually remember? In my attempt to protect myself through distance, I keep drifting away from the question of what bereaved people might need. Are there any? To what degree does a person count as a survivor? Is it a national question? Is the memory of killed children of forced laborers of Polish nationality some 80 years ago a need for people of today's Poland, of today's Germany, of the people around the place of death? Does it concern all of us, because we are human beings and especially in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern we know how quickly administrative borders and national affiliations can change? Does it concern me more than I wanted to know that there was "something like that", that it is injustice, that it should not be repeated, no matter where in the world? Why should I even spend my life dealing with such issues? I have enough on my plate! I take care of peace in my social environment as far as it is in my power. Is that not enough?

What am I doing here?
Did the people who spent stages of their lives here ask themselves the same question? Home directors, nurses, "fosterlings," protégés, millers, transients?
Maybe I don't want to do anything in this place. It heals itself.
However, it is a place that stands in segments of its past for quite a few others, only that here we know of some points. It can be a proxy place. Many phases of our history, atrocities and professional, which we can pedagogically valuable. The place as a martyr so that we do not have to overlook the whole country with scars, so that grass can grow.

How do you move on when these obvious, overarching stories brand entire regions? Put up benches and flower pots? Cultivate a picnic area behind the washhouse? Illustrate fragments of disaster? Set up an ominous "never again!"? Talk about what was? How to talk, about what was and how to continue afterwards? To talk with whom? Talking to whom without overburdening? If I talk to people on the spot, am I possibly implying an obligation or even complicity through silence? I don't want to talk down anyone's living environment! And there was forced labor all over Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, so why here of all places? We are so sparsely populated that every speech has something personal. The atrocities in Maurinmühle were largely systemic - reinforced by anticipatory obedience. If what happened at that place had structural causes and people acted according to the moral ideas of their time, doesn't cognition change social morality in conjunction with other structures prevent the repetition of said events? Does this question imply that the people involved were morally inferior or uneducated? Are our structures different? If so, are they evolved with respect to the vision of a just society?

I wanted to make art here! The place seems to be so in process that it seems to me counter-productive, invasive, to make a visible, detectable intervention. I have nothing to add to this! I cannot heal. I do not want to admonish.
What is the purpose of art? The task of art is neither historical research, nor the illustration of its results. What art can do is communicate on an emotional level and open up spaces for issues that don't have enough space in our everyday lives. We can raise questions.

Now I'm sitting here in the midst of my raised questions.

What am I doing here?

Rico. , 2023, Translated with (free version)


"What am I doing here?", 2023, 08:55 min

Rico. , 2023, Translated with (free version)

spoken by Bolabolka

inhale - exhale - repeat.   03:07 min

Project infos_Ortszeit IV

Art project / exhibitions | „local time IV – Maurinmühle Part 2“

24.06. – 10.09.2023 | St. Laurentius-church Schönberg
15.07. – 10.09.2023 | Maurinmühle

about the history of the place

history of Maurinmühle

key data in the history of „Maurinmühle“


.   popularly known for centuries as "murder mill"

.   since the end of the 19th century „Maurinmühle“

.   02. August 1928 operated by the local health insurance company Lübeck as „Genesungsheim Maurinmühle“

.   used in the 1930s by the German Workers' Front, Gau Mecklenburg, as a recreation home and training camp

.   sold to the district of Schönberg

.   1938 briefly TBC-Home

.   1938 – 1948 Children's home

.   from 01. December 1939 used by district administration (previously: Gauwaltung Mecklenburg)

.   1948 – 1973 Feierabendheim [retirement home]

.   Demolition at the late 1970s

Translated with (free version)

altes Waschhaus Maurinmühle (c)RamonaSeyfarth_'22-06-29

former washhouse Maurinmühle



.   Since the title on the house has not changed that much, just the first part should have been roughly brushed away and rewritten. The "HOME" probably remained for different levels of use.


.   The saga of the murder mill is quickly summarized: For travelers passing through the area there were hardly any overnight accommodations, so the miller and his wife offered a hostel. Through a folding mechanism, the sleepers fell from the bed to the lower floor. If they survived the fall, they were beaten to death. Afterwards they were robbed of their belongings. This is how the miller couple is said to have enriched themselves until one day their own son - unrecognized by them until his death - fell victim to them.

.   In the 70s, a teacher is said to have tried to find out more about the history of the place in response to questions from students regarding the Carlow gravestone. Shortly after that "Maurinmühle" were demolished. There remained the remains that we can still find today.

.   A newspaper article refers to a grave in Carlow with the inscription: "Here rest nine children of the People's Republic of Poland" and summarizes eyewitness reports according to which Magarine boxes from the children's home were brought to the cemetery. The assumption is made that the deceased infants of Polish forced laborers were transported in them. It is also said that the conditions in the laundry room, where the children's corpses were often kept for days, were so bad that traces of rats eating them were unmistakable.

.   A letter from the head of the NSDAP Gau Mecklenburg Race Policy Office, Dr. Leu, to the Ministry of the Interior, dated January 12, 1945, indicates that a 14-year-old boy was beaten to death in "combat." "The leader {female}, because he is afraid of water, wanted to punish him with a bath. The fight has taken place under Zuhillfenahme {aided by} of two boys of the home."

In the same document it is criticized that the manageress was hardly employed because of her qualifications, but because she "managed very cheaply".

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