It was early 2010 when I went to photograph in Courchevel, France, assigned by The New York Times T magazine. The topmost village, Courchevel 1850 is quoted as the 6th most expensive place in the world. I found the resort somewhat silent: the sun had already started melting some of the slopes. Also, a major slope—the euro crisis—was unfolding at cumulative speed.
Skede is by the sea about seven kilometres from Kapsede. We drove there on the windy Saturday to see the waves and to fly the kite. After seven consecutive loops the kite plunged behind the drying pine trees on the dune. This made me think of our drive to Skede two years earlier. As we stopped the car its kilometre reading was 77777, as if the car prompted that dunes a bit further south were the scene for the largest massacre in Liepaja during the Nazi occupation of 1941-45. During those years Liepaja’s Jewish population was practically annihilated.
In attempts to deal with this grim chapter of history, no less than three memorials have been erected in Skede. First, in the 1960′s appeared an obelisk which explains how “more than 19000 Liepaja citizens were murdered by Hitlerist attackers”. Contrary to the text, most of the killers apparently were Latvians. The larger text “Forever remembering the Soviet patriots!” is not on par with the site’s connection to the Holocaust.
In 2005 was built another, monumental arrangement in the shape of a seven-branched candelabrum, which is dedicated to the perished Jewish community.
Due to its dimensions this monument is difficult to photograph. Peculiar enough, still at the time of this writing you won’t see it on satellite maps — instead an empty field only.
The following year a third, modestly proportioned memorial stone was placed to balance the other two. It recognizes all the thousands who perished here, including Jews and war prisoners or people who helped them, and the ones who resisted the occupiers.
Oddly the site shares a foul-smelling entry route with Liepaja’s waste-water treatment plant — which you can see on satellite maps. Due to its dimensions this faculty also is difficult to photograph and I won’t even try to.
This is the unofficial Kapsede Under Thunder postcard.
Last weekend we took a nice canoe ride with kids in the Ogre river. (Sorry: the river pictures are from May 2010 after the flood.)
A healthy beaver population takes care of forest management here.
Whoever doesn’t share beavers’ view in arranging vertical objects, will probably rest their minds in the local shop instead: