Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

19 Years in the Land of the Dead

Posted in Beaux Arts, Erotica, Historia & Memoria by Suzanne G. on April 26th, 2005 | BBC Wikipedia


© Jan Saudek (1)
(click to enlarge)

One night I heard a noise. I looked out the window. He saw me. "Close the window and go back to sleep. There's a fire at the reactor. I'll be back soon."

I didn't see the explosion itself. Just the flames. Everything was radiant. The whole sky. A tall flame. And smoke. The heat was awful. And he's still not back. The smoke was from the burning bitumen, which had covered the roof. He said later it was like walking on tar.

At seven in the morning I was told he was in the hospital. I ran there but the police had already encircled it, and they weren't letting anyone through, only ambulances. The policemen shouted: "The ambulances are radioactive stay away!" [...]

I saw him. He was all swollen and puffed up. You could barely see his eyes. [...]

I tell the nurse: "He's dying." And she says to me: "What did you expect? He got 1,600 roentgen. Four hundred is a lethal dose. You're sitting next to a nuclear reactor."

(Lyudmilla Ignatenko, wife of a fireman)

On April 26, 1986, the No 4 reactor at the Chernobyl power station blew apart. Facing nuclear disaster on an unprecedented scale, Soviet authorities tried to contain the situation by sending thousands of ill-equipped men into a radioactive maelstrom.

Please take some minutes of your time today to visit The Guardian's special report on the Ukraine

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PICTURE INDEX

Jan Saudek: Susanne (1979)

Jan Saudek: Fate Descends towards the River Leading Two Innocent Children (1970)

Jan Saudek was born on May 13, 1935, the son of a bank clerk in Prague. His father survives the Theresienstadt concentration camp where his six brothers die.

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