Following on from the initial colouring of the famous Belsen Liberation sign, we took a lot of time to ensure the colour was correct – particularly to see if the red wording was actually red.
Pink? Were concentration camp huts painted pink? Really?
Firstly let’s step back a moment.
The coloured photo produced on the 75th anniversary of VE Day has since been received really well. Despite the relatively low resolution of the image (we’d love a better one), the overall image was very pleasing. As an image we altered it rather a lot – the original sign itself was slighted distorted leaning against the hut and in order to get a better quality of sign and clarity of lettering it was swapped digitally for a better quality image – the one with the serviceman standing next to the sign.
This (above) is the first attempt at colouring and was produced before we had located a colour image of the sign. The “Liberated by the British…” was thought not to be white, so was coloured yellow. This was incorrect and a later version (marked v2) was produced with the correct coloured lettering.
The image itself, through up a lot of new finds – from the image I never knew the paint tubes could be seen. We still have the paint tubes, one has traces of red paint from the original sign and, of course the biggest revalation of Reg Price, of the 113th LAA, Royal Artillery – adding his signature on the top right. The original grainy picture doesn’t have the mark on it – a small palette shape with two words within.
Incidently the german text twin sign (there were two signs either side of the entrance to the original camp 1) also has this palette mark – but only one word. The mark was added after the photo of Reg Price and Cyril Nicklin was taken – perhaps upon placing in position?
We have read a lot too. A number of period accounts, from the initial liberators, mention a number of the wooden huts were pink. So for Holocaust Memorial Day 2022. we thought we’d colour the hut background pink and throw the question out there.
So were the huts pink?
Various accounts say the huts were pink, this illustration (above) produced by an internee of the camp (closeup shown with more details of the illustration to follow), clearly shows a pink hut and, for the new Imperial War Museum Holocaust Gallery…
…this superb photo of the restoration of a concentration camp hut. Albeit not from the Bergen Belsen camp, this panel is pink.
Colour cine film taken by American liberators at other concentration camps sees the camp huts in pink. The evidence is strong, for this strange colour choice. Perhaps some sort of colour-coding for aerial recognition?
What do you think? Please get in touch and let us know your thoughts.
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