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Artist reproduces Alderney 'execution' wall

Artist reproduces Alderney 'execution' wall

Friday 03 March 2023

Artist reproduces Alderney 'execution' wall

Friday 03 March 2023

An artist who uncovered what is believed to be the site of executions carried out by Nazi soldiers in Alderney is sharing his dark discoveries in a new exhibition, including a reproduction of a firing squad wall.

Alderney was occupied from 1940 to 1945 and was the last place in Western Europe to be liberated, one week after Guernsey.

The Nazis established four camps in the island and the extent of the suffering wrought upon prisoners brought to the island has never been fully understood.

Secunda is holding an exhibition in London inspired by research he undertook for a project based on the occupation of Alderney which brought new facts about its history to light.

The project builds on his 15-year interest and previous investigations into the destruction of culture.


Pictured: the prints in Secunda's exhibition are inspired by his findings about Alderney's past.

"I went to Iraq to see what ISIS had done to some ancient villages. It's not just about destroying iconography, it's about rewriting the local history. Alderney is an interesting example because the locals were removed by the Navy and the Germans had free run to do whatever they felt they needed to do.

"In doing this they changed the identity of the island in an irretrievable way, and that, in essence, is exactly what I'm interested in with my art.

Secunda has developed 32 prints and several casts of damage done to physical structures in Alderney.

The brightly coloured photographs of plants, wildflowers, and the island's beaches have been blurred and overlayed with silk screen prints using ink made from burned cordite, which was removed from abandoned Nazi ammunition found in Alderney. These are historical records infused with the beauty and the horror of what happened.


Pictured: The exhibition includes the cast of a wall damaged by a firing squad's bullets.

His work on a four-and-a-half metre long cast of a wall confirms the existence of a firing squad in Alderney.

Secunda said: "Bullet damage inside a wall at Platte Saline was, for me, a very significant indicator of the kind of brutal reality of what was happening on the island."

He had to do "forensic work" to determine what he was looking at, which entailed being given a bullet pulled from the wall that he took back to London to be examined.

"You do stress and strain testing, a variety of different metal testing and compare it to [German ammunition] from that time. It came back as a match."

"Once I received those results I decided that it was worth going further and I contacted a couple of forensic scientists in New York. Between them they have given more than 550 expert witness forensic testimonies in legal cases," continued Secunda.


Pictured: More images from the exhibition.

These scientists came to Alderney in June last year.

"They took photos and measurements and then they went back to New York. In the last few weeks they presented me with their findings, which are very decisive, and the conclusion is that this was a firing squad execution wall."

This revelation highlights exactly the kind of horrific acts that were taking place on British soil during the Second World War. Secunda has created a physical cast of the wall at Platte Saline and is exhibiting a small section in London.

"[Alderney] is an island of spectacular beauty; it's a gem sitting off the coast of France, and it really looks like something that should be in the Mediterranean, but it has this dark underlying history. I wanted my work to show both sides of that."

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