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Chess set

Chess set

  • Date: 1944
  • Material: wood, straw, bread
  • Dimensions: 9,2 х 15 х 6,6 cm
  • Inventory number: И 2/2 233–398

Work of a prisoner: Box with a chess board, wood, straw, 10 chess pieces are made of bread

During 1944, train convoys with interned members of the resistance movement and Jews imprisoned in Greece heading towards concentration camps throughout the Nazi-occupied Europe made temporary stops in Belgrade because of air attacks on traffic. The prisoners were taken from trains and transferred to wooden cabins in the northern section of the Banjica Concentration Camp, where they stayed until the journey to Germany was resumed. As unscheduled prisoners at Banjica, they lived in extremely difficult conditions marked by overcrowded cabins, malnourishment and squalor. Dismaying scenes of the suffering of those people, while there was no way to help them, remained in the memory of the surviving prisoners.
This chess set, made from available materials and infused by a vision of better times that could give some meaning to life, is a rare evidence of this tragic historical episode. Particularly striking are the chess pieces made of bread; they feature characters from classical Greek tradition as a distinguishable foundation of the dignity of a civilization.

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