Martin Honey original interview transcript

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					Second Interview: Martin Honey, Post-Auschwitz, 26th April 2005

R: Ok so if you could tell me a bit about the pictures. M: Right Jewish Quarter Krakow R: I think its on a slide show so it might go too fast M: I guess you can stop it and go one by one R: Yeah, right ah M: These are incredible pieces of kit aren‟t they? R: They are (laughs) right, apart from when they break

(Pause for sorting out the computer slide show) Martin: Ah there you go (more sorting out irrelevant) M: Ok this one and the previous one town square Jewish Quarter, this is the Jewish area of Krakow, that‟s a Jewish museum, bookshop, restaurant, a Jewish café there, Synagogue here,


we‟re just catching a flavour of, this is an area that was cleaned out by the Nazi‟s, a Jewish Ghetto really and it really really hasn‟t changed that much, not much rebuilding really. Ria: So have they kind of reclaimed it then? Martin: Um sure Ria: OK, That‟s good ok; do you want to press the button so you can go through them? M: Yeah um R: That‟s there we are, so you just have to press the thing at the top Martin: That‟s this one R: Yeah M: OK Main square Krakow just sightseeing here‟s a market with all sorts of wonderful things in, very inexpensive chess set for ten pounds in red and white wood beautiful uh yeah a pleasant way to spend an afternoon that‟s in the centre of the city same square, that looks like me there standing pathetically or maybe it‟s not um I don‟t know who the statue is off the top of my head but that‟s the lace market area behind,


so that‟s the sort of tourist centre of Krakow, (p) that‟s a sort of old building that looked very impressive in the square in this main square, it must be a church I think, I just liked the architecture and the vivid blue sky you know terracotta and blue, uh local musicians on a Saturday afternoon in the square, no really reason to take it other than to capture a flavour of some traditional dress that they are wearing and the market hall just behind, town square again, with a digi camera you can just, R: (unrecognised) M: yeah this was a big, big square and you know with hundreds of photographs on a digi camera you can just R: Um I love them M: Uh yes this is just a view of a tram there are trams everywhere, rattling and creaking. Ria: Nearly running you over (laughs) Martin: Yeah, public transport very very cheap ok (p) Auschwitz first visit, um it‟s come out, we were trying to get the writing, trying to catch a flavour of you know,


all through the place, they say there is no bird song, but they didn‟t tell me (p) somebody didn‟t tell me that until I was on the way home and I can‟t remember whether I heard bird song or not (laughs) Ria: It‟s one of the like cliché, if you like things that they say, That everybody says that they go there and there‟s no birds singing…. Martin: Yeah, it might be because there is a hawk around or something (laughs), um snapshoting just taking snap shots just to try and pick up a visual image of the place um, this last sentence you know it probably sums it up quite well (points to last sentence on board).

The lucky ones appear to be the ones that were gassed when they arrived, gate you know dodo, We‟ve got some better pictures through here of the gate, you know „freedom through work‟ which is you know the biggest lie they could have told them, that‟s the main way in.


I don‟t think the camp was flattened (p) so it‟s sensitive restoration of what was there, I think Belsen was flattened by the British uh, just over 60 years ago to the week and um there‟s not much left in terms of buildings, but I don‟t think this was destroyed, the Russians took it and I think it was more or less kept intacked and then tidied up over the years really. Ria: Do you get that as you go through? Martin: Um you get the feeling that it‟s (p) for the most part original but tidied up you know the barbed wire that would have rusted has been replaced and um its pretty authentic it feels pretty authentic, um I can‟t see, I can‟t find anything written on (p) it being destroyed and rebuilt and that sort of thing so (p) yeah.


Ria: Yes, I was looking at the guide that you gave me and the only thing that I could find in there was that they‟d rebuilt one of the gas chambers, but the other place, Auschwitz II isn‟t, that has been quite blow up and things. Martin: Yes Birkenhau, oh sure when you, we can talk about that, that comes in latter in the slide show and is a different baby anyway you know, it‟s bigger and it has a slightly different function but I think was wreaked by the Nazi‟s as they knew as the Russians were coming they tried to destroy chunks of it and succeeded to some extent, so more of that is recreated and that‟s a couple of minutes away, Birkenau I think it‟s called, it‟s really quite close to Auschwitz, which isn‟t Auschwitz in Polish it has actually got another name. Ria: Um, it begins with an O doesn‟t it…? Martin: Yeah, yeah some sort of Slavic unpronounceable, so these are just the blocks in Auschwitz, which are quite solid really and in them in a lot of them there are exhibitions, you know things like piles of human hair and the canisters with the cyclone gas in and piles of glasses and piles of shoes and in some of them they‟ve left the sort of sanitary arrangements


and the sort of bathrooms if you can call them that uh and in each block are sort of cells where people were herded in on you know sort of four high sleeping arrangements, I mean actually quite comfortable from the outside you know, sorry in it

Ria: Yes from the outside they look like halls of residence, M: They do don‟t they yeah R: The sun is shining

Martin: Yeah, this is sort of in one of the main avenues of the camp, the guide in English is very good


and you know I think has become practiced over time and she was um (p) some of the things that she said were pretty horrific you know she knew how to wind up the crowd, if you like (laughs) there were a group of us in a party that were shown around by (p) by this lady and she was very informative you know and the things she said were pretty awful (p) yeah so… Ria: Why do you think she told you the awful things? Martin: There‟s a degree of creating sensation, sensationalism a little bit going on I mean when I think back to what she said, I mean it was probably what happened but I think it‟s almost a script you know, it‟s been scripted and um it gathers pace in its horror (laughs) as you come through the camp. There are parties here of Jewish pilgrims as you can see carrying the flag, I mean they‟re weeping and whaling all over the place, it was really very crowded, at the bottom of, ah yeah this is a post in the main avenue where these poor souls were lined up for hours on end, twenty-four hours often with no food or water, just for you know a row, a head count or whatever and…so they were saying.


Ria: Did you find that there were lots of pilgrims there? Martin: Oh absolutely yes, lots of Jewish people and people in our party, elderly people who I didn‟t know why they were there but for some reason and they were very upset and there was a lot of emotion around the place and some of the Jewish people you know they were desperately upset we were watching the groups, we‟ll come back to that I think in a minute, so these are the canisters that contained the gas so they tell us, with the tops ripped off, and they were chucked in through the roof (p), that‟s actually piles of human hair behind a glass screen.


Ria: That must be very old. Martin: Yes and it looks it, I had minor problems with the camera (Interruption: someone knocking at door) Martin: watchtower, taken through a cell window which had had the bars removed, And all around the camp there is this double line of barbed wire which was electrified and beyond that were these watchtowers at fifty meter intervals or less, um and apparently the inmates often committed suicide by just jumping onto the fence or were thrown on the fence or whatever, I mean it looks as if the, from what we are told the guards created conflict between the prisoners, who attacked each other and did terrible things you know, everything to humiliate and destroy these people‟s mental make-up was going on really, it was absolutely horrific


I mean you kept thinking that the lucky ones were gassed as they arrived.

Ria: That‟s a crazy concept M: Yeah R: that you are better off dead. Martin: Yeah, I mean I one of the saddest things was the that when they were herded out of wherever they‟d come from, from a Jewish Quarter in some city in Europe somewhere, um they were told to take enough food for five days and their precious possessions in one suitcase, so they arrive at the camp and step of the train and are told to put their bags down, they can collect them after they‟ve been showered and sanitised and all the rest of it and of course they never see those cases again, they‟re either led away to be killed straight away or brutalised for months in the camp but they never see their cases again and you know all sorts of valuables are still there in piles and archives that you know were taken from the suitcases


and huge piles of suitcases too, sort of 1940‟s leather with addresses on and I think that‟s terribly sad, to trick them out of their possessions and herd them away to be killed and uh , yeah so and all through the visit which took a couple of hours and there‟s some addresses on and you know there were these huge mounds of many hundreds of cases, Which are obviously authentic, no-one could sort of recreate them.

Ria: No I think that is the really upsetting thing that they had no idea and they think that they were just going somewhere else, it makes it even worse. Martin: Um That‟s right, this is a spot between two blocks, which is where many many thousands of people were shot and there‟s a sort of layer in front of the brick that absorbs the bullets


and it‟s a memorial for people to come and put their flowers and stuff, um just stand there in this courtyard (p) was pretty evocative and um yeah for all sorts of minor misdemeanours they were tortured and shot and in the block this way there were um holding cells where these people were cooped up and intimidated for days until they were actually stood there and shot.

So that‟s again Jewish people were weeping and wailing around this area and you know it had particular significance for those who were pilgrims, um yes so it was sunshine now and that looks quite nice really as a block doesn‟t it?


Ria: It‟s not the typical media image that you see is it? Martin: No it isn‟t sort of half decent accommodation (laughs), solidly built. Ria: But it was different in the insides? Martin: In the inside are cell blocks, are rooms really with beds in some of them, so you could squeeze many many hundreds of people into each area, grossly overcrowded and herded in really insanitary conditions, um so the thing that probably made it horrific was the sheer volume of people that were squeezed in, uh in a room for a few people you know, there were literally dozens and dozens apparently, uh just sort of views of the blocks, that was a tower where again you know people who had done some minor misdemeanour were strung up and left to die and that was at the point were the work parties passed night and morning and an example to anyone you know, um sort of the perpetration of cruelty of the worst kind on people and they were displayed there often still alive and um yeah one can only guess what that must have done to the other prisoners and um yeah, (p) a point where people were made to assemble and stand for twenty-four hours and all that sort of jiggery-pokery. That was the gallows were they hung the governor or whatever he‟s called the man in charge of the came


Rudolph something, (P) R: Hiess? M: Something this like that Rudolph Hiss, it‟s not Rudolph Hess but just beyond that way is a beautiful large house where he and his wife and loads of children lived.

Ria: Is it still there, the house? Martin: Yeah it is actually yeah Um but he, you know they had sort of everything done for them by the prisoners and after the war he was tried and sentenced to death and that was the gallows they used to hang him because he could hang and look down at the camp as he was being executed, that‟s why they did it, you know he was the man in charge of all that death and finally they court up with him, I guess 1945-1947, Actually the 16th of April 1947


so that‟s on the fringe of the camp and just around here there are the gas chambers. This is actually in the crematoria, you know they take you into the gas chambers and shut the doors and frighten you and (laughs) and turn the lights out.

Ria: Do they, do they do that gosh? Martin: Yeah and there are things in the roof which open um the gas was dropped in, they don‟t actually go that far but for an instant they (p) yeah and I think they were mildly damaged but reconstructed very soon after so they‟re as close to authentic as they can be. Those are again Jewish wreaths in memorial, they‟re the trolleys that the bodies were put on and pushed into crematoria where they were burnt at massive heat, um that‟s a particular site for pilgrimage, that‟s the crematoria (P) Uh


Ria: How did that feel when they did that? (p) Martin: When they shut the door? Ria: Yes Martin: Upsetting, by the time you get to that bit of the tour you are pretty sombre (laughs), you‟re pretty um (p) serious and um when there are people in the party who are desperately upset as well, you know you‟re feeling you‟re not far away from being upset yourself, you know distressed and so that‟s it isn‟t, it‟s done pretty gently you know, and maybe not with all parties maybe somebody had said can you shut the door and we‟ll see what it feels like and so they did, and I would have thought that not all visitors get that, because this was a specialist tour perhaps,


I would have thought that generally people wandering around They‟re not there not, they don‟t generally shut the door and And tell them that the shower things are still in the ceiling In the ceiling where the gas came out of and um, they tell you about the procedure that you know that took place where they were conned really (p) and they all have to leave their clothes on and each is given a hook and several hundred people were gassed at the same time and they were given a hook in the changing room, the auntie room to the chamber, and they all have to hang their clothes up and be naked which is really quite a dreadful humiliation for people who are you know in that point of time elderly, middle aged men and women all mixed together, having to strip naked all sorts of other issues, and then leave their clothes they go in for a shower and then they can come back and reclaim then and of course they never do and for some reason they stockpiled the clothes and other personal items like glasses and stuff I mean god knows why and much of it found it‟s way back to Germany apparently,


or some of it found it‟s way back to Germany uh then lead into the so called shower block, where you know instead of a shower the doors were closed and and um and the gas comes in and there were images in another book I had which I have to bring in, of after the gassing takes place the doors are opened and there‟s a pill of bodies always in the same order with the weakest and children at the bottom and the strongest men at the top as if they‟re clawing their way to try and get out you know in the moments before they all suffocate um and there‟s sort of images in this book of um the fairly standard piles of bodies that were a result from that form of execution and I think other prisoners, other Jewish inmates were employed to um you know to get them into the crematoria really and they lived slightly longer because they were the labourers who burnt the bodies of their country men or whatever, pretty horrific stuff (laughs). I mean this is a this is a,


on the way out this path way towards the exit and outside of the camp proper I mean this is an illustration of the electric fencing with its two layers of electric barbed wire, which makes it virtually impossible to escape.

Ria: It‟s just strange that it‟s all still there, like seeing the pictures of that. Martin: I mean the guide says that the pillars are original, That that the pillars and most of the and most of the insulators are, they‟re obviously replaced the wiring and it‟s not plugged in anymore (ironic laughter) I think at night this all lights up with the lamps, which makes it even more eerie and um (p) ok, we‟ve actually left Auschwitz and we‟re in Birkenhau now which is a much bigger camp, this is the rail line in through the gate,


this is the main gate.

Ria: The famous rail line Martin: Yeah and inside there‟s a, there it is again the gate, and you‟re allowed to go up to the top of the watchtower which sits on top of that and gives you a view of the camp, yeah this is just a view of the exterior looking in, to give you some idea of the scale of it, huge and there wooden blocks rather than um stone built like Auschwitz much more temporary much more flimsy much colder and um part of the camp that was never reconstructed was flattened and left flat um these are the sort of foundations for blocks which have not been you know they haven‟t replaced them of course, they‟ve just left the foundations um


and again looking way down into this huge and looking way down into this area, central area with the rail line which um which comes into the middle and a huge train would stop and they could all disembark into the middle of this camp.

um these are the wooden (p) the wooden um the wooden huts, outside again this is interior of wooden hut, not a very good picture but you can just about see the sort of benching where they were all herded into sleep and there might have a thousand people in a hut all on top of each other with no space. R: That‟s unbelievable M: Um conditions of the most awful kind, no lavatories um just all pushed in for x hours every night


most of them ill with dysentery or diarrhoea and you know it must have been absolutely unbearable, you know four layers of bedding and in the winter you know for six months the climate is awful, you know it‟s cold and below freezing in the night, and um (p) there is some form of primitive heating here, which is like a um some sort of, some sort of whats the word some sort of fire would be lit somewhere and it would send hot air but you know often it wasn‟t working or there was no fuel.

a toilet block which is partly reconstructed, um part of the desperate degradation that went on


through this sort of system, these things don‟t have any outlets so people would use these holes and then other prisoners had to clean them out by hand.

Ria: Oh my gosh. Martin: um also they‟re only allowed in here in night and morning and there are not enough spaces, so they fought each other for spaces, plus most of have got you know (p) Anemic dysentery and diarrhoea, Uh phew so they‟re doing it in their shoes and things through the day and, uh punishments for that are it‟s getting as low as you can in terms of human degradation, everything that can break their spirit is done and this is (p) this is uh one of the ways that they attempted to do that, in the block you just feel that this is as bad as it gets.


Uh That‟s a view from the tower, you go up in the tower and there‟s that view across the camp sort of thing, it‟s huge yes, we‟re talking millions went through here probably, um I mean there‟s all sorts of disputes going on and has been for a long time about the actually numbers that were killed here, but it‟s certainly huge, coupled with Auschwitz just across the way and that‟s a view across, they could have had thousands and thousands of people cooped up in here at anytime, there are crematoria and gas chambers but they‟re way over, we didn‟t see them, they‟re way down the end there somewhere, and were destroyed anyway and not rebuilt so you know it‟s just a sort of site and now were back to Krakow and a tram and the salt mines.


Ria: And how were the salt mines? Martin: Muumuu, ok I mean you wouldn‟t want to I wouldn‟t want to go back, its ok, I mean they weren‟t punishment things, I mean it was a place where salt was mined Uh by really quite well paid minors Um within the mines they‟ve made statues and cathedrals and churches, Um you know all this sort of thing is calved out of salt, it‟s all terribly dark, I couldn‟t have pressed the right button. Ria: Is it because the screen is… Martin: Ah ah that‟s getting better isn‟t it? The pope in salt, calved out, so that‟s about ten feet high, R: Really M: Yeah and they‟re all sort of large hall areas, sort of hollowed out, it‟s quite a long way underground. Ria: It‟s quite amazing that they‟d make churches and things. Martin: Yeah and in Catholicism, ah the view from Krakow castle, across the water it‟s a lovely place actually, I mean as a tourist destination, it‟s got a lot going for it,


but not for too long, no leaves on the trees you know gives you an indication of the season, you know early spring Ria: It‟s cold M: yeah, frost at night, me looking strange in Krakow, (both laugh) somewhere in Krakow, ah the Pope‟s death, big deal there.

Ria: Ah yes I meant to ask you about this, were you there when he died? Martin: Yeah we were there the night he passed away, And Krakow then became very different and there were huge numbers of people in the main city square, um open air requiem masses, you clicked in very quickly um and everyone suddenly became catholic really, um the world media was there


Ria: Yes there‟s all those satellites there M; yeah the town square was geared up because the following day was Sunday and there was going to be you know thousands of, hundreds of thousands of people possibly, um in yeah, just a shot of the world media in the main square and more, this was a this was the place where the catholic priests lived and still do in Krakow and the church and lots of people were hanging around waiting for the Archbishop or the Cardinal or whatever to address the crowd from the top window which he did, uh I‟m not sure why we took these pictures, everyone waiting for the man to appear at the window and when he did I wasn‟t there, British Telecom are there that‟s a BT van, I spoke to the guys in there who were beaming it back to Britain, that‟s the cathedral there, that‟s were the Cardinal or wherever it is, lives, or the Archbishop. And that was on the Sunday after he died during the night, there was a big picture of the Pontus and there were crowds all over the place that was the Vatican flag, that‟s the sort of Priest‟s halls of residents,


which is on the main street and seemed to be the sort of focal point, for people to go and be around and everyone was leaving candles and um (p) flowers and stuff.

Ria: Were there lots of tourists there? Martin: Not so many, I mean there were some, you were aware of it that the tourists were there but not in such huge numbers and you know I spoke to some Germans and some British people and some Americans and you know fairly international though, mainly European though, mainly European flavour of people milling around I mean you know they just got court up in the pope thing, Um that just happen to you know bring many Poles to the city that day but um I mean it is touristy, I mean I guess after Warsaw its there main tourist destination, there‟s a city on the coast isn‟t there where the cruise liners pull into. But yeah they were all waiting at the window As we were waiting for this priest to come and bless the crowd and stuff,


people just stood there for hours you know, yeah just waiting and um (P) I‟m not sure what that is, the town square again with black on the flags. Ria: Ah is that what they do? M: Yeah (P) (Interupted by Ken Tressider Walking in) Um yeah sort of pretty, oh these are Jewish people with hats and things, caught up in the popes um, or maybe not, they‟re just in the town square, the Jewish Quarter, we‟re back to the Jewish quarter we must be coming to the end, yeah we‟re back to the beginning now, so that‟s the square in the only Jewish quarter, and that‟s the sort of um Jewish restaurant, we had a couple of Jewish meals there which were really good, very cheap and very inexpensive and we stayed in a hotel, which apparently is the only one in Krakow that‟s owned by Jewish people and they‟re very positive about the Brits and the Americans for all sorts of obvious reasons, so we had a suite for about £20 it was really good. So a focal point, a meeting point for lots of Jewish people who come from America or Israel more to the point


because just along here there is the Synagogue which is a pilgrimage place and these guys are all over the place weeping and whaling and bowing and rocking and rolling and things and they appear not to see you and they‟re pretty intimidating as a group, in in with long beards and robes and funny hair cuts, they‟re not particularly overfriendly, uh quite intimidatory situation and um you certainly get a flavour of that staying, I wanted to stay in the Jewish area, you know in that neck of the woods and this just happened to be next to you know the main Synagogue so people were coming and gong and early morning they were all in the graveyard rocking and rolling and they all rock and roll, (laughs) they all rock and pray I guess and wail and um further inquires realised that most of these people are from Israel they‟re not actually, they‟ve actually come on a trip from Israel, they‟re not actually particularly affluent, they‟re probably staying with local people, the intrinsic Jewish population is pretty low, in Poland then and in Krakow there‟s not many Jews living in the area as such,


but many come in and there you go.

Ria: With regards to the people who were running the museum were there lots of Jewish people involved in that? Martin: Certainly this place yeah, I mean who‟s running Krakow, who‟s running Auschwitz, I don‟t know I guess the Polish Government, but yeah there are the Jewish people that run this thing here, which is a restaurant come bookshop you know uh and and the food is really good, kosher food I mean we had some fish dishes and stuff, uh there‟s a restaurant here which is wonderful, I mean if your into food, oooo its incredibly good, I mean for a fiver a head you could eat all you wanted. Ria: So it was cheap over there then? Martin: Oh yes eighty pence a pint if that and you could eat very well for three pounds fifty, which I did you know.


It was good Ria: Ok so do you want to move on to the questions now? Martin: Yeah sure. Ria: Right ok so um, I‟ll try not to back track too much with the things that we‟ve already discussed, so um can you tell me a bit about your holiday experience, as a whole? Martin: Ok I mean on a scale of one to ten, six and a half, almost a merit, two-one, before we left the UK on the afternoon of the day before we went to um Churchill‟s home in Kent, the names gone, um his country house, where you know he built the brick walls and it‟s kept as it was I guess in the 1940‟s and that was a beautiful visit, national trust property, Chartwell, so that set the flavour, you know we were on a second world war history tour here um Krakow I wasn‟t expecting much, I mean I‟m not in love with Prague and I just thought that this will be Prague times two, version two and it is like Prague in some sense but less grand and cosier and I was quite impressed with Krakow, it‟s small enough to walk around sort of


but still quite a chunky city, it‟s old, it‟s second world, its soviet and it looks as if it needs you know a lot of renovation but it‟s quaint, maybe that‟s the wrong word um and for a couple of days you know it‟s an interesting tourist destination, it keeps you happy for a couple of days, you know one of those days was Auschwitz one of those days was um the salt mines and then I went back to Auschwitz for a second visit just to finish it off, uh but the idea was to actually go to Auschwitz, that was the reason I wanted to see uh, You know the camp and stuff after many years of reading, And watching news and other documentary programmes about it I thought well it‟s time to have a look really, so yeah, I mean it‟s not exactly a laugh a minute (laughs), but I mean as a piece of um as a venture into tourism, it‟s good. Ria: Ok um last time we met we spoke about your expectations of the visit, what it was going to be like, how did it live up to them?


Martin: Well I think I judged my feeling about right you know I am aware that when you see television and film of something and then you see the reality of it; it takes away the full impact of it for me sometimes, of um of (p) the live scenario. I watched the birth of a baby at fathers night before my first child was born (p) so I wasn‟t actually upset by all the blood and goo that I saw when it actually happened because I was expecting it from the fathers night film they show you, you know and same with this, you know I‟ve done a lot of reading over the years and I‟ve seen a lot of videos, so when it comes at you you‟re sort of ready for it, so it‟s less upsetting than it could be and you know you‟re going to be moved and you sombre but (p) and you know I‟m not Jewish and um the full emotional impact is for someone else you know, does that make sense? (Walter 1984 and lit review chapter 4) Ria: Yeah Ok can you tell me a bit about the kind of people who were visiting Auschwitz? Martin: Well the big groups were largely Jewish pilgrims (p) from the US and from Israel and from all other points. Um So they formed the majority of people I saw on the day I was there


but there were lots of other individuals and groups from all over Europe, um not so many Brits, um there were lots of children there. Ria: There were M: Yeah R: was that school parties and things? Martin: Yes, school parties I guess, Um people of all ages and some very very distressed elderly people, who maybe have memories which are very real, maybe they were there who knows? Um (P) Hum Ria: Did you find that the children knew what they were seeing? Martin: Not really, it depends on the age of the child but for the most part (P) no (uncomfortable laughter) it‟s maybe not a place for young children to be anyway, I guess school parties would go on school trips and things but um you know they were doing history and stuff and uh, to some extent their perception is going to be shaped by sort of the country that they come from and the sort of teaching that they‟ve had a school and, yeah so I guess you‟d have a spectrum from upset kid to kid who thinks sort of what the hell is this you know or points in between. Yeah (p)


Ria: Ok that‟s about the photographs so we‟ve done the photographs, what sense of realism did you get from the place? Martin: I felt it was very real I felt it was very authentic (p) and part of me is always doubting whether this is some elaborate hoax, or it‟s completely reconstructed or whether you know it‟s all fiction, you know you can‟t help doubting the scale of the horror is so enormous you actually think, did it really happen? But I think it‟s pretty authentic, I think it‟s largely as it was and tidied up over the years, um you know from all sorts of (p) asking questions from all sorts of people, I think pretty, pretty authentic is the words really and very real and as it was. Ria: With regards to your own doubting, did it kind of validate it all for you, did it kind of prove it? Martin: Absolutely I think so, Um (p) I mean so much of what we experience in life comes through second hand, through reading,


through TV and whatever you know it‟s it‟s we‟re sitting in our armchair and we‟re watching, we‟re not sort of um (p) we‟re spectators of, we do need sometimes need to as you say validate our belief or our experience by being there and (p) like watching Wales play on the TV is nothing like being on the touchline and it‟s the same sort of thing you know it‟s um hum this, (p) because we know so much about it, because the Holocaust is such a big deal, this really does stand up and hit you hard. You know This is it this is the place, one of the places where these dreadful things which are not that long ago took place, stand-up and take notice, you know its uh it‟s real. Ria: Um With regards to what you already know about the holocaust, did you feel that what you saw confirmed or contradicted you‟re beliefs? Martin: Confirmed it all down the line Ria, you know it was confirmatory all down the line. (Interruption: Steve enters the office)


Ria: How did you feel upon arrival at Auschwitz? Martin: Um, (p) serious, sombre, (p) quiet, (p) reflective, (p) you know um this is it (p), um yeah, (p) serious being the, I thought phuh this is a place of great significance um and a place which isn‟t terribly funny and that mood stays with you for a day or so or more afterwards, you are sombre. Ria: Yes that‟s what I wanted to ask you as well, after you‟re come out of their, what affect has it had on you? Has it had an effect on your everyday life? Martin: Yeah I think so, I mean the depressing effect wears off quite quickly You know I mean within a day or so you are beginning to perk up because you move on you come back to the United Kingdom, but we‟re still caught up in an era of sixty years of post,


you know sixty years until the end of the war and in the media, you know there are still programmes, there‟s a very interesting programme on the Nazi‟s about D-day to Berlin, running in the evenings at the moment, I think on channel five, which I‟ve been watching so it‟s right again in your mind, you know the whole thing, Hitler‟s last days and the bunkers, is yet again being resurrected, to mark sixty years um since the end of the war, so it‟s in your mind again and the fact that one visited so recently then, yeah I mean lots of other people I suppose I mean I‟ve got lots of friends who were very interested and wanted to talk about it and when I went to see a friend of mine Peter this week who is in to this sort of thing he does a lot of reading around the Nazis and you know he wanted to see the photographs and talk, so you know it‟s reinforcing and bringing back to life the visit you know, lots of people are very interested in talking about it, my mother and yeah Ria: What was the most emotive aspect of Auschwitz and how did it make you feel?


Was there one thing in particular or Martin: yeah there is a series of wooden stakes which are about eight feet tall that people were tied to by their wrists behind their back uh for minor misdemeanours which dislocated their shoulders, which made them unable to work and so they were killed later anyway and the futility and the brutality and sadistic horror of that was worse than anything else, plus the um there is a series of cells in one of the blocks that you see where people were starved to death quite literally starved to death and, for again minor misdemeanours or trying to escape or whatever, I mean that‟s maybe not minor and there‟s a shrine in one of them a Roman Catholic shrine, uh because in this camp there was a Roman Catholic priest, I don‟t know why and eight men I think were sentenced to be starved to death and put in a cell and just starved, um and one of them was a very young man seventeen I think who wept and pleaded for his life and this was overheard by a catholic priest who said “I‟ll change places” so they said fine change places and the priest was starved to death, the Pope who‟s just died went there


fairly recently I think and canonised the priest in the cell where he was starved to death, and I found that pretty (p) tear provoking and in the cell there are flowers and you walk down a very dark dingy, unpleasant corridor to get into these punishment cells, with you know the bars and stuff and there are these flowers in a tiny window which is pretty emotive, very upsetting so those were pretty, I mean there were other incidents too, but those were the most upsetting, profound, I found the toilet blocks pretty awful too, I mean your coming close to the ultimate (p) way of degrading human life, when you start to get into this, the technicalities of what they actually did it was pretty awful. Ria: And what kind of emotional effect did those have, seeing those kind of things have? Martin: Uh, I have to struggle not to cry you know? To I mean pretend that there‟s a band around my forehead which is tight, otherwise I just want to weep. R: Yeah M: I mean I, part of it is in my make-up because my father was in the second world war and in the far east and


and (p) um as a child he would talk to me about some of the things that happened to him you know he wasn‟t captured but you know he suffered greatly and died when he was quite young and um as I‟ve gotten older it all becomes mixed into one big jumbled up emotion about the war and what went on you know? other members of my mothers family, you know brothers and so on were all killed in the war so it‟s a pretty um significant time in my family history and this is you know a chapter in that and you know my mother wanted to talk about the whole experience when I got home and for her it‟s quite upsetting, people that actually lived through the war um would find it very hard to take I would think very very emotional and draining and taken back to that point in time yeah Ria: Yeah Can you tell me a bit about how you felt when you left the museum? Martin: Um (p) You feel, I felt very, and the whole group did very serious, you know your in this black mood anyway (laughs)


and I think you think thank god it wasn‟t me you know, thank god I wasn‟t in this, or live through it or be part of it, or be you know alive during the second world war, I think you have this hope that you know it‟s over and it will never happen again and you know we‟ve learnt from it, you do carry, I mean you‟ve got to feel like that because I mean the other side of it is just black depression (laughs), you know you have to feel that there‟s got to be a reason for all this terror and it is, you know it won‟t happen again, I still you know, you constantly think, how could that happen in Europe, how could that happen in Europe during the life of my parents? And um I just find it so amazing that that sort of horror could happen on the continent of Europe, um but um I think hope, you know there is hope, as Churchill said that you know „the light of the world will move forward into broad sunlit uplands‟ or whatever his quote was um that the future is going to be better because of what happened, so yeah I guess hope and that we‟ll never forget and some good will come from, you know that dreadful horror, but it is very, I mean it isn‟t, I mean it is quite serious and it is very serious (nervous laughter) and it is depressing and it isn‟t a fun holiday you


know (laughter), the foods good and the beers cheap but you ain‟t there for a laugh, but still Ria: Ok I‟ve asked you that can you tell me a bit about the mood you experienced throughout the visit and afterwards, you said it was dark didn‟t you? Martin: Yeah, I actually, when I got back home, I felt really quite depressed for a week really, um and I don‟t know whether it was the holiday or the experiences of what but it actually was quite depressing the whole experience, you know I wanted to do it and I would go back but you know it is quite black mood provoking, I mean there are other situations on the planet which are equally bad I mean you know the slave castles in Ghana and so on are equally horrific but maybe not quite up to this scale, but you know, you come through it and you know hope and the future, it‟s just a very sobering history lesson at the end of the day now, and the timescale it‟s lengthening isn‟t it now, it‟s sixty years now yeah. Ria: Oh just lastly then with regards to the picture that you took, what significance did they have for you, like with taking pictures of certain things why did you take those pictures? Martin: Well I guess to create a sort of visual memory an archive, a personal archive to look back on, I mean some of the shots are almost iconic I mean the words over the gate, the watchtowers, the barbed wire fencing, the rail line into the camp I mean, these are images which are laid down by film and the media over decades, that you want to confirm and reinforce and see, you know it‟s a bit like you know forever one has seen pictures of the Sydney harbour bridge in the summer I‟m going to climb it and take a picture of it and touch it, it‟s this sort of game of confirming reality I think, which happens in so man bits of our life, who knows what really brings about a deep interest in a place or an event or such that you know some people are unaffected or


not interested and others are deeply interested,

you know a part of history or

geography or whatever most definitely with me you know it‟s family background I mean my family were, you know my uncles and aunts, we‟re almost all involved in the war as participants and you know that shaped the rest of their lives and passed it on to their children, me uh everyday my father talked about the war and my mother still does…

(End of tape) …there‟s an interesting programme on one night this week on the bombing of Cardiff in 1941. Ria: Oh really, ah I will be watching that… Martin: Yeah, January 1941 a hundred bombers attacked Cardiff, I meant to write it down, I think it might have been Tuesday evening and it‟s Tuesday evening today, ah it might be tonight better check the um TV times and things I can‟t remember which one it‟s on, might be on the sort of BBC Three or something or BBC Two late at night but it‟s tonight and um that should be good, and we can visit, I can take you, if you fancy it to Llandaff Cathedral and show you the huge stone in memoriam to the night in January ‟41 when the cathedral was blown apart (Ria: that would be cool, I‟m really interested in all of that, you know how all of this happened on our doorstep and


we don‟t know anything about it) um and I can take you to sites around the city, you‟d never know now I guess I mean there is a huge gap in Neville Street in Riverside Cardiff, which my family brought three homes when they moved to Cardiff in about 1916 and moved out about 1938 to another property nearby and the houses that they originally brought were flattened in about 1941 by this landmine that fell on them and my father who, my uncle who was in the home guard helped dig out the survivors from the house that he was born in, yeah and I‟ll show you were the gap is, the old Victorian houses and then you‟ve suddenly got about ten which are built in 1945 brick because they replaced them like a tooth missing you know and all around the city if you know where to look you can actually see gaps in Victorian terraces where in 1945, 46, 47 they replaced the bomb damage with a new house and bombs fell in Roath park lake and blew apart houses around the lake and fell in the dock, there‟s an awful lot of evidence, that was the main night, one night in 1941 and for a whole week they came every night and the house that I was born in had an air raid shelter in the garden and I was around that house until I was about nineteen and it was used as a tool shed and somewhere to go, and that was the air raid shelter that my mother and her family used to go in in the night and stuff when there was an air raid, around the city if you know where to look you can still see Anderson shelters all over the place, but you wouldn‟t know what they looked like unless you were aware of them, which people went into if there was an air raid and they‟re partly buried in gardens and stuff like that and if you didn‟t have an Anderson shelter, which was a round thing with a door in made of steel, you had a steel table which you put in your living room and you crawled under when the alarm went, so if the house was bombed you wouldn‟t be crushed, you‟d be under the table and they could dig you out. Ria: Frightening…


Martin: Yeah, I mean its, I mean I don‟t want to talk too much because I maybe not, it‟s not relevant to what you‟re doing but I mean compare it to cities like Plymouth, and Coventry and even Swansea Cardiff got of very light I mean Plymouth was blown to pieces you know, 20,000 people killed because of its naval significance, you know Devonport and the Royal Navy it was a prime target for the Luftwaffe, Cardiff less so I mean it was the Docks really that they wanted to destroy, yeah so and London of course, you know it was Blitzed to high heaven. Ria: I went to London over the Easter to visit the D-day museum and there they got smashed to pieces too in Portsmouth. Martin: Oh right, yeah I mean it‟s Royal Naval, Navel significance, I mean it‟s immeasurable and the London Dock Development that I was browsing through a few weeks ago, which I think is amazing, I mean it‟s really all come about because the East end of London was blown apart in the Blitz, thousands of dwellings were destroyed around the Dockland area, you know it‟s um its not that long ago and the world was at war. Ria: It‟s mad, it just seems like we‟ve come on in leaps and bounds. Martin: Well even in my short life time, I‟m about three years older than you, the world was unrecognisable from when I was a kid, you know the sort of wealth levels and what we have is awesome compared with what we had two generations ago, I mean my parents actually got married in 1948 and they went to live with my granny and granddad, mothers mother and they actually had electricity installed a week before the wedding so that the newly married couple could have an electric light and a plug, they had one plug in the whole house, pre that it was gas light and cooking on a cooking range on a fire and a fire to heat the house an open fire to heat the house, central heating is really only about thirty years old.


Ria: I remember my granny‟s old house they lived in an old chapel house in midWales and they didn‟t have heating until they moved when I was about twelve years old and no heating no nothing. Martin: It‟s amazing, well even my parents, I didn‟t have central heating until I brought my own house, I left home to go to university and we had coal fires in each living room I mean that‟s pretty primitive, but everything, I mean cars and transportation in the last 30 years, educational opportunities the whole thing is just so different in one generation let alone in 2 I mean I think if you go back to the thirties and I‟ve got a really great pal of about 70 who‟s a historian linguist and he‟s got tunnel vision back, he was born in the 1930‟s in the South Wales Valleys, it‟s the middle ages you know, yeah I mean the change is very very profound and the increase in wealth in people is very profound too and I mean I‟m flying to all over the world really and who am I? Some ordinary guy, Australia and the United States, I mean when I was a kid no one when anywhere (laughter). I mean Australia you never dreamed you‟d go anywhere near there, or if you did it would be on a boat and you‟d never come back. I went to Trinidad when I was 21 for three months and it took six months wages for the ticket, it was about 600 quid I earned 1200 quid in that year of work, I mean compare that to now, I mean it‟s a couple of hundred quid and you can fly anywhere. Yeah so I think the 20th Century is, I really don‟t want to bore you with all this rambling but one thing my Grandmother died a few years ago, after my father unfortunately, my fathers mother, she was well into her 90‟s, very elderly 98 I think and she was born in 1899 and she was born before the Wright brothers took their first powered flight 1903 and her transportation as a kid and right into adult life was a horse and cart and this is granny that I can see there in my minds eye, not long ago she died, as old as the queen mother you know and in her life time by the time she


was 71/70 men had stood upon the moon, in one lifetime we have gone from a balloon, no flight and a horse and cart to standing on the moon in 1969 and I think that is incredibly significant in one lifetime, her lifetime and before she died she went on concord and I think wow you know wow, in one life time and you know London to New York in three or four hours or what ever it is and when she was a kid how many weeks did it take by sea or whatever? And New Zealand and Australia you know you can fly in 24 hours, the sun of Concorde if they ever make it will do HeathrowSydney in four hours, twice the speed of sound. Ria: Well is there anything else that you‟d like to mention that you think you might have missed or? Martin: I don‟t think so, I don‟t think so, I mean I guess if it does I can email you or come and see you, I don‟t know if you‟ve got what you need from me. Ria: Oh yes definitely, because you are like my pilot, Sheena wants me to concentrate now on my literature review so I can get that sorted out, but I think this is the way I‟d like to do it now because I think it works well to be able to talk to people and get a feel of the different places that they‟ve been I think would be a good way of doing it, I‟m looking to recruit people now, so if you know anyone who‟s going anywhere, or if you go anywhere again you‟ll have to let me know. Martin: Well I‟m going to go to the convict settlement in Botany Bay in August yeah. Ria: Really, oh gosh. Martin: I‟ve booked my flight to Japan and Australia… Ria: oh this is what you were saying about the other day. Martin: Yeah I‟ve done it now, we‟re going to be within walking distance of Botany bay in Sydney so that‟s coming up and knowing me it‟s the sort of thing that we want to go and see so, talking about the Brecon Beacons, I do a lot of walking in the


Brecon Beacons and there‟s one site, I don‟t know if you know the Beacons but on the West side of the Beacons, the Black mountains, there‟s an area called the Carmarthen Vans which are you know interesting rugged countryside and there‟s a site in there and I can‟t remember the actual spot but there is a reservoir up in the hills and it‟s a beautiful place to be and it can do a circular walk in about two hours, three hours and the reservoir and the road up through this isolated countryside was all built by conscientious objectors in the first world war and these people who wouldn‟t join the army were put in prison and they were given white feathers and they were humiliated and beaten and you know imprisoned for not fighting, it didn‟t happen in the second world war and chain gangs of these conscientious objectors built this, about a mile of road way and ducting and up to this reservoir wall which dams the little valley created this in the most beautiful beautiful setting and I think god you know all this was done by forced labour all this was done by people who were probably desperate and imprisoned and I don‟t know what I‟m trying to tell you but I find that very significant and very interesting that a site of extreme beauty was created by people who were desperate. Ria: I mean it‟s like the Great Wall of China, they say it‟s like a big graveyard don‟t they? Martin: Yes I guess, I haven‟t seen that (reflective voice) and the Burma Railway that‟s another one isn‟t it? I mean off the record what is it that draws you to this study I mean is it because its there and it was suggested or do you have a more profound…? Ria: I think it‟s more like um, I just want to understand why people go and because within…basically I started researching it was when I was in the first year and Ken Tresidder mentioned that there was a thing called dark tourism and I thought ah I‟ll do that because no one else has done it, so I did it because of that. But now with this no-


ones really looked at motivation, everybody within the media assumes that its morbid curiosity and that‟s just an assumption that everybody makes and then the academics say well its remembrance, its entertainment and education but I‟m not convinced at all and so I really feel like I just want to find out what it is and all the reasons in peoples past and why they go and what interests people and things like that and that‟s just something that I want to do to add to the knowledge of why people do things, what effect things have on people and stuff like that, and I just think as well because I‟m quite a conscientious person about things, I want to do good in that way that I want to realise why people do things and that these sites do have an importance and I just want to make that point. Martin: I mean there are some psychologist at Llandaff and others that I‟ve spoken to over the years, who proffer this replication theory that we copy the behaviour and belief of very significant people in our lives like mum and dad, to a degree that blows your mind, almost exactly we don‟t think we do but we do, we become like mum and dad, after many years of being with them in our formative years we end up with a set of things in our head which come from them, so I think we take on their significant issues maybe in a different way and maybe turned round a bit but for me my parents significant issues were the war and you know their mentioning words like Auschwitz when I was a little boy and you know horror you know, recoiling in horror when such words were mentioned that does something to you and sensitises you forever to this sort of thing. I‟m going to Hay-on-Wye on Saturday to try and buy my set of Churchill‟s history of the second world war because I‟ve mislaid my collection, I‟m constantly reinforcing this issue in history in military in that era I wish one had been, had become a social historian, I really like social history and I guess you must too, big-time, ordinary people and what shapes them and where they‟re going.


Ria: I just the feeling that I‟m getting from this thing that people are doing is like all tourism activity says so much about your life, you know that you can find a lot more out about things, it just seems to tie in a lot with what Im researching, tie in a lot with things that I experience everyday like politics and things like this, its really really interesting. I‟ve been thinking of trying to get in contact with the psychology department in Llandaff, but then there is um, because my issues are kind of psychology and sociology there are two perspectives that you can take, it‟s which one you go down I suppose, but I think I don‟t know it might be beneficial to do that. Martin: I think it would yeah from a sort of sociological and or psychological aspect, I think there are pretty powerful sources in the human mind going on with this, I mean um my parents my mother still you know talk to a German I don‟t think so and me dare bring a German into her house, I mean I‟ve actually got some very nice German friends she don‟t know about em, I actually met a German girl at university who was delightful and wanted to come home with me, she was here for one Easter and she was so pretty and I daren‟t I couldn‟t take here home and I sort of brushed he of you know and I really wish I hadn‟t well my kids go to German and have German penfriends you know so that‟s fractured and things have moved on, so I don‟t think we take on all their prejudices and beliefs and their issues but um I think mum and dad you know, phwar you know their influence on us is mega whatever we say you know? Ria: I think with things like morals definitely the underpinning things, maybe rationally we don‟t your more effected by the world and your education, but with your morals and what you really believe. Martin: Yeah you know and as parents you know we‟ve got tremendous influence and I hope to god it‟s good influence over your offspring, but yeah I think all too often badness negativity is passed on down through the generations replicate wily nilly you


know the bad things that we inherit you know the small minded ignorant sad bigoted bullshit that goes with it, I hope to god I haven‟t been like that with mine (laughter). Ria: That‟s why people have therapy isn‟t it to move away from all the things that they‟ve got, all the negativity. Martin: Yeah, I mean again I‟m not sure understanding why you‟re negative or knowing the reasons why does any good, uh maybe it does. Ria: Um so it‟s all really interesting every day I find something and it‟s like oh gosh that could be, I don‟t know, I have a feeling im going to unearth some real truths, I really do. Martin: Yeah, I guess and I mean just using tourism as a vehicle for investigating human behaviour I guess, you‟re actually looking at human beings and why they do things, using tourism as a mechanism and it could be other things couldn‟t it? Tourism‟s pretty significant because you know it‟s a really big deal for people, they spend large amounts of money on travel and stuff. Ria: Especially now in the world that we live, it‟s all about tourism and taking pictures. Martin: Oh sure and accessibility and being able to get to venues and places and um almost anywhere that we dream of you know. Ria: I think it‟s just like if someone watches a film about a place and then they have the opportunity to go and visit that place why wouldn‟t they, if they had the interest to watch the film then they‟ll have the interest to go and see the place. Martin: Yeah, yeah. Ria: But it‟s going to be tough, because it‟s going to be so hard to get people to speak to me and things like that especially in the case of because I wanted to do a study of the Imperial War Museum and I still have that in my mind when I‟ve done al this


opportunistic stuff I‟ll go and do some kind of study there, but they are so anti the term dark tourism. Martin: Are they? Ria: Yeah because everybody just thinks because its dark tourism, its morbid and it‟s like a terrible thing so id kind of like to redefine it so that it didn‟t have such negative connotations and that people wouldn‟t reject it outright and just because its dark in nature doesn‟t mean that the motivations have to be dark, the places have to be dark, they can do a lot of good, so like the Imperial War Museum will just say, „this is not dark tourism‟ and its like do you know what people mean when they talk about it? It‟s going to be difficult. Martin: Yeah I mean I, there are some terribly exciting places around though which, military type, I mean there is a real odd one in London called the London dungeon. Ria: Yes, I‟ve been there years ago. Martin: We used to take students there, hospitality really as a spot of light relief, but really because I was organising it and I was always fascinated by the place, um I think it was better when I first saw it it‟s gone a bit caricature, its gone a bit cartoony you know it‟s gone a bit… Ria: they make it like an unreality don‟t this, they make it so unrealistic yet the things that they portray did actually happen like things like Jack the Ripper but they do it in such a way that it becomes entertainment and that‟s really bizarre as well because underneath the category of dark tourism that‟s the same as Auschwitz, it‟s like one of the things that im looking to do is to fragment the area and divide it into things like London dungeon as fright tourism and then have genocide tourism as an opposite kind of thing, because I don‟t think you can put tourists in the same category and say that


the motivations for one are the same as for the other because they‟re not at all are they? That‟s something I‟m looking at as well. Martin: I mean there are several of these, where if you were not switched on you could walk though and not see anything, and I think the London dungeon is one of those you could just blinkered you could just think what is this rubbish you know, tou underlying it is again you know a dreadful amount of shock horror, vicious unkind but the dummies and models they use all look a bit silly now you know I think they all look a bit not real, it‟s lost something and you know I‟ve brought the tea towel every time I‟ve been and I‟ve brought the tea towel and the odd souvenir but it‟s all a bit um fairground. Ria: Yeah like a ghost train, it‟s the same with the Chamber of Horrors at Madame Tussaud‟s. Martin: Oh I‟ve never been. Ria: one of my friends used to work for Madame Tussaud‟s and he‟s got this ticket where you can get 80 free passes to any of the Tussaud‟s group, so every time I go to London he gives me the ticket so I get to go to the places, I‟ve been there about three times so that‟s the same sort of thing but its all the historical figure but it‟s the same as the London dungeons really. Martin: Most significant sobering horror experience of all my life was when I was a little boy my granny gave me a set of cigarette cards that had been collected in the 1920‟s by someone in the family and stuck in a book and there were a hundred cards in this selection perfect and they were called crime and punishment throughout the centuries and I must have been ten or eleven and I was old enough to know, bright little boy, old enough to know what he was reading, cricky and this was a catalogue of the most barbaric punishments you could dream up and that layered something into


my head into my psyche and I lost it and within a year or so of being given these cards I never saw them again, either I left them somewhere but they went and from all over the world there were punishments like, I can see the pictures now, in Turkey I think people were put in the sack naked tied at the top and there were rats in the sack that hadn‟t eaten for a week and if the rats weren‟t going berserk they‟d poke them with pins to make them go crazy, um and the whole book was full of these dreadful punishments and maybe that wasn‟t the sort of thing you should give a ten year old you know. Ria: But it‟s like when you are young like I remember when I was little my dad had a book about ghosts and ghouls and I remember picking this book up and knowing that I would have nightmares by looking at the pictures but… Ria/Martin: you still do it… Ria: and maybe that‟s got something to do with it, that you know it‟s horrible and repulsive but you still look. Martin: Yeap absolutely Ria: like child like curiosity. Martin: I mean I think as well we like to push back our vision and our back, we like to see how far human depravity goes simple as that, basic human curiosity, do you know I had to go to a police station in Dubai when I was over there with the students because we lost a watch and I think I told you this and um I had to get an insurance report and I had to go in and see someone and I never did get what I wanted and I left in the end I couldn‟t cope but it was dreadful and there was noise and screams and you could imagine cells with blood-soaked rags and oh, very upset people being dragged around and I thought Christ this is something out of the middle ages and this


was a police station in the town throughout the whole culture I felt was middle ages and barbaric, public executions you know. Ria: Really? Martin: well actually not in Dubai but when we went to Abodabi there were in the town square and I thought um there are still some necks of the woods where medieval horror still exists, yeah I mean in the London dungeon there is an issue about hanging drawing and quartering, and it‟s done in a very flippant way I mean how dreadful, I cant listen to serious documentary programmes on Guy Falk‟s which comes up every November the fifth and they have something on channel four it‟s very serious and I can‟t bear to hear what was done to him and I have to leave the room really and I think oh god, is part of it being grateful that we‟re alive now and not likely to be brutalised in that way? Ria: It‟s just bizarre because with things like that where you wouldn‟t, well I never felt oh gosh that was awful or these horrific things but I don‟t know why that is, they just make it like a cartoon, like a caricature, so unreal. Martin: Yeah it sort of belittles the reality of it I think, I haven‟t been to the Imperial War Museum for years but it was brilliant when I went, quite some time ago in the aftermath of the Falklands war they had a big navel exhibition there and I went to have a look at that and it was an awesome day and I remember Monty‟s caravan and allsorts of other things. Ria: They‟ve got kind of um I don‟t know if you saw it when you were there but recreations of the blitz and recreations of a trench and things like that and then they‟ve got a holocaust exhibit and a crimes against humanity exhibit as well, another thing that I went to over Easter was Bovington tank museum, have you been there (did you, no no), that‟s cool its like one of these things where I don‟t know its quite


exciting because you go through and you have to enlist and there‟s a guy and you walk though a trench and it‟s all really recreated like that and after that you‟ve got the tanks and there‟s just row upon row of all these tanks its amazing its really cool. Martin: Yeah I mean im certainly amazed at the first world war tanks and how primitive they must have been but there was an account of the tank battles of D-day and after between the tiger tanks of the Germans and the Sherman tanks and the Cromwell tanks of the British and the Americans and the German tanks were far superior and how horrible these things were to be in and how easily you could die you know be suffocated and couldn‟t get out if there was a problem. Ria: Well that‟s like one of the tanks that you went in had sound thing where your listening to a guy on the radio talking and he‟s telling about did you know that we would probably die from the gas in the tank than from the enemy, it was that bad… Martin: Absolutely, oh god yeah, I used to have access to my Granddad‟s diaries that he kept when he was in the army in the First World War and my father‟s surviving brother‟s got them now, I was the eldest son of an eldest son which is interesting, because I got his medals and other bits and pieces but my father died before any of his other siblings so I sort of got pushed out you know. But reading the sort of weekly journal of granddad who was in the Herefordshire regiment who was at Gallipoli, it‟s horrific you know like from your own family member, because he was injured he was wounded and sent back to England, thank, you know it probably saved his life and another, I‟ll shut up in a minute, another very significant thing for me was that my father was in the far east in the RAF aircrew and I guess about 1943, they either got shot down or they had engine trouble and they had to ditch in the Persian Gulf and basically they got out with their gear in a life boat, floated around for a couple of days, landed on a little island and waited to be rescued everyone knew where they


were but it took like a week to send a rescue boat, quite a few hundred miles across the ocean to pick them up and my father got actually dreadfully sunburnt during the day and I think actually got liver damage to add to the rest of his problems and he was responsible for keeping a log and wrote up daily what was happening and so on and anyway the rescue boat came and one of the crew men on the boat, unbeknown to my father was a friend from school, they we‟re friends in school but they went to the same school and he was on the crew that picked up these airmen, well after that they became friends for the rest of their lives, you know they were really buddies, they shared a real common bond anyway bout 1970 something, thirty years after the incident, 40.60.70 yeah, I went to the public record office, 30 year and 40 year intervals got records that they can release to the public and for all sorts of reasons, I thought that I‟d investigate his squadron and my uncles squadron anyway at the public record office, they produced documents for me from 292 squadron, which was my father‟s squadron and his logbook was there at que you know and I opened his logbook and sand from the beach where they were waiting to be rescued fell on the table and seawater had stained the pages and made the ink run and I thought chrism this is amazing, I was reading in the museum you know the account of the rescue and it went back into the rescue office and it‟s still there today. But imagine that I mean he told me as a little boy that you know, he had been rescued and he was on a beach, and sand from that beach falls on that table. Ria: That‟s absolutely amazing. Martin: Yeah, I though bloody hell, and I couldn‟t move for an hour I just sat there thinking bloody hell. Ria: It‟s really quite magical isn‟t it?


Martin: Yeah, yeah there are sometimes in life, there are sort of moving moments that happen, well I guess I‟ve said enough. Ria: Ok, I think I‟ve kept you for long enough, time flies well thanks for your help and I might be back in the summer if that‟s ok, after your visit.



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