Cigarette case

Cigarette case

  • Date: 1942–1944
  • Material: wood
  • Technique: Carved wood
  • Dimensions: 7,5 х 11,8 cm
  • Inventory number: И 2/2 182

The significance of making various small things from materials that prisoners had at hand was twofold. On the one hand, it was a way to fill the time spent in prison with some creative activity and make the days of isolation, uncertainty and fear meaningful. At the same time, as long as the prisoners made these items (dolls, embroidered handkerchiefs, cigarette holders, pen cases, small adornments, engraved platelets, chess sets, playing cards, etc.), there was hope that at least some of them would survive the war's turmoil to become a testimony of their existence. Consequently, notwithstanding artistic imagination or craftsmanship, each of such objects preserved at the Banjica Concentration Camp is precious in terms of human value. The most frequent motif of these handicrafts was the view of the concentration camp in which they were made. The building with its protective wall, guard towers, police cars and trucks, and the gate of the camp, as a symbolical entrance into the reality of the life in the concentration camp, occupied the imagination of its inmates. It is very interesting that the majority of them feature the camp from an outer perspective, as if prisoners unconsciously assumed the role of mere spectators, witnesses, and not the victims of genocide.

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