My Gate (Moja brama)
Sachsenhausen concentration camp, 1944
Lyrics by: Aleksander Kulisiewicz
Music by: Serbian popular song
Performed by Aleksander Kulisiewicz
“Work makes one free,” a sign on the gate at Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Germany, February 1941.
Moja Brama is Kulisiewicz's reminder of the sadistic “sporting competitions” held at Sachsenhausen. During these sessions, SS-men commanded prisoners to perform the so-called “Indian Dance,” forcing inmates to quickly and repeatedly raise their arms, stare at the sky, twist their bodies, drop to the ground, and stand up again. Many prisoners became dizzy or ill or fell exhausted after such “exercise.” Kulisiewicz's coping mechanism was to focus on the camp gate, much as a ballet dancer might spot a distant object to remain balanced while turning. The image of the gate burned into Kulisiewicz's consciousness, and remained among his most indelible impressions of camp life.